|Burbank 2003 Staff Reports: Dani|
Dani's big bad adventures in the US of A for the second year...
By Dani Moure
A different opening
This year I feel an immense need to start off my con report with something a little different. You see, I'm going to be nice! Well, actually, I just need to address something that really helped make this convention the best one I've ever been to. Last year, I had several complaints about the convention itself, mainly involving the way the Creation staff were, with both the fans and the guests, and their general attitude. Well, colour me hugely surprised and thankful to Creation then, who completely managed to u-turn this convention and allow everyone to make the most of it in the best way possible: by having fun.
Adam and Gary at Creation have been listening to all the feedback, you see, and it showed. It really, really showed. Gone was the cattle herding during the lines, and the rather rude "you can't come near them!" attitude with the guests. Instead, the fans weren't treated as though everyone was a bit of a psycho, but instead like we're a bunch of normal people who happen to be at the convention because we're fans of a TV show called Farscape. We got asked when we'd prefer to give the gift-giving so it wasn't done on stage (and when we were asked and decided on during photo-ops and autographs, I cried out with joy inside), we got to spend a bit of time saying hello and a few words to the guests, the lines were pretty much left be (because most adults are capable of staying in line in an orderly fashion), and at the various meeting events with the guests, it was all very relaxed and the Creation staff weren't pulling the guests away after two seconds. It was a really, really nice and friendly atmosphere. Last year's convention was my first, and indeed didn't leave me with the best impression of the way Creation runs a convention, but this year I couldn't be happier. So, this whole long paragraph is basically to send a huge, massive thanks to Adam, Gary and all the Creation staff who helped make this event such a success with a nice atmosphere. I'd strongly encourage everyone who had a good time to e-mail Creation to let them know. Anyhow, on with the report...
So, as with last year, you'll actually get a nice (hah!) log of my entire journey, both at the convention and away from it.
The pebbles fall...
And it all began on Wednesday, 12th November 2003. It was your pretty average murky British day, when I was driven to the airport by my parents. After going through check in and all, I was baffled on arrival at my gate because I wasn't searched. It would turn out that, unlike last year, I wasn't searched at all on my whole journey.
Nine or so hours later, having survived some mild turbulence and finally seen Terminator 3 (a much better sequel than I expected) and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (A much dumber sequel than I'd expected, but fun all the same), I landed at LAX. This year, you see, I decided to go for a cheaper, direct flight to LAX and make my own way to the hotel. This day just wasn't a good day to do, well, much at all. First, my luggage came out about third from the end, leaving this panicky little British Boy crapping himself thinking his luggage was lost. Then, a lovely queue for passing through security. Joy.
So I get to the airport entrance, and spot a wall of payphones. Yay! Over I go, having been told by Mary in advance that they'd take credit cards. Which was a good thing, since I never bother bringing much cash (and it's all notes, anyway). Alas, I tried both my cards, literally about 30 times, and each time they were rejected. I was going from phone to phone with each card, trying over and over. I was hot and tired, and now looked like an idiot. Great. Finally, and I do mean finally, I got my card working, but it couldn't connect the call. What had I done to deserve this? Thankfully, one retry and I got through to Julie, roomie number 1 (who goes by the nick Ryalin, and we first met at last year's convention). She was at the hotel and would be waiting for me. I told her I'd be about 1.5 hours, since that was the estimate the hotel gave me for the shuttle. Oh, how wrong they were. After eventually finding the shuttle stop and coordinator, I got on.
Almost three hours, five stops later, first on and last off, I actually arrived at the hotel. Of course, my name wasn't on the room. So I couldn't check in, and Julie had gone. I asked the receptionist man, who told me she'd been here but left about 10 minutes before (just my luck), and like an idiot I didn't bother saying that I could just call her. 10 minutes later, I realised, and did, and he offered me the phone. As he showed me how to use it, a voice tells me not to make the call... Yay! Julie was here! We say hi and hug, and she tells me Mary isn't now due in until much later that night, so off I go to have dinner with Julie's friends Danae, Robyn and. They proceed to wind me up about my accent, but it was still fun. I was so tired that I then went up to the room to lie down, and watched the end of Smallville before falling asleep just as a new Angel was about to start.
Waking about an hour later, I returned to the bar to meet the girls. After the joking, we went back to their room where they want to watch a movie (I was very tempted by Finding Nemo), but I was so tired I just wanted to sleep. Back to the room we went, only to find Mary! Yay! We all hugged and talked a little, and Julie told us that we had a free internet connection all weekend (surely a mistake with me around!). When Mary went to the front desk, I got her to ask if Angie and co had checked in. She rang up asking what Linda and Ellie's real/surnames are, but there was no trace of them (and I couldn't remember Ellie's surname). Alas, we soon fell asleep. I was very tired. Incidentally, I found out when I got back that the minute or so phone conversation cost $7.53. That was £4.43. That is absolutely, positively insane. I don't care if it's an airport. Bloody rip-off merchants.
Close encounters of the friendly kind
Waking up the next morning, I was still feeling the jet lag, but nonetheless, Mary and I were up early, as we had a date with the three Brits (my wonderful Brit friends, who I should probably name once together now, lest I never name them separately again BritAngie, Elliejane and Linda). Of course, nothing ever goes to plan.
Mary and I head down to the hotel lobby, to find SorlkLewis waiting for us, and all was, for the next few moments, well. It was nice to see her again since we barely got to speak last year, and have just chatted in between cons instead! Alas, the rumours you may (or may not) hear aren't true. That's all I'll say. Anyhow, we're wondering if Angie, Ellie and Linda have checked in yet, so return to the front desk. You see, the airport was closed on Wednesday (about an hour after I landed). This was not a good thing.
And to my non-surprise, still no sign of them. I started to get very worried. Mary and SL managed to keep me relatively more calm, because, of course, I'm sure US Angie would've been in touch had there been problems (she was picking the gals up from the airport when they landed). Alas, she was also nowhere to be found. Not good. The three of us there proceeded to wander aimlessly around the lobby trying to decide what to do. We met up just before 8am. Supposed to leave at 8:15am. It got to almost 8:30, so of course, I'm crapping it. We're waiting at the info desk by this time, wondering if plans have changed and we should make our way to our destination. But seconds later, I spot US Angie! Yay! Of course, Mary and SL have never met her, so wondered what the hell I was doing, but I'd met her back in March at Starfury. So I quickly hug and ask if Angie (as in BritAngie) and co are OK.
She tells me of their diversion to San Diego, and not landing until 2am. But they're in the hotel, checked in. Room 566! So I run upstairs with SL, and Mary close behind, and bang on their door. Linda opens, and doesn't get to say much before I uber-hug her, then the other two in quick succession. Ah, the relief. So, we return back downstairs, meet up with Mesascaper and friends, and we all head off to WB Studios for their tour!
So off we go, with me cramped (literally) with my head to the side the whole way (the car was too small!), and we eventually arrive at the good old WB. So, we get driven across the lot to our starting point in one of those golf cart type things. I've always wanted to ride in one of those. I sat perched in the back (as I would every time we got in it), along with SL and US Angie. As we're driving, I'm looking around and notice a car is driving right behind us (and of course, in the back, we're facing it). I realise who it is and get all excited and fanboy. I nudge SL. "Look! Look! It's Phoebe!!!" I say, trying to do it so she won't notice. She agrees. I turn to my other side, and say to Angie, "Look whose in the car! It's Lisa Kudrow!" I manage to stay calm and not wave or anything, as she looks cool in her shades and just cruises into her parking space. So, as a total Friends uber-fan (so I'm a mainstream whore, sue me), my day is made already!
So it's then that we're taken around all the sets. I won't go through them all in detail, but this included a tour of the Drew Carey Show set (I was too busy wanting to go to the Friends set to pay much attention), walking through the hallways of the Gilmore Girls (and it really was fun to watch the show later to see the sets we were standing on), viewing the White House exterior, as seen on TV's most over-rated drama, The West Wing (I feel the kicks coming my way already), walking through the Amazon jungle that is apparently featured heavily on ER. Oh, and we got to see Central Perk. Now that was fun!
After the tour, which continued ever further, and also included the excellent museum. Oh, wait. Let me just go off on a tangent for a second. I'm not a Harry Potter fan. At all. But the upstairs of the museum was pretty cool, especially for someone like me who enjoys film. The whole floor was dedicated to the little brat. And some people forced me to sit under that stupid hat. It's obviously fake, as it put me in the good category. Unless it's easily fooled. Anyway, back on track, and we finally made it to the gift shop at the end, where we waited for someone who was supposed to meet up with us. Eventually, after asking, we were taken back to the museum where we met an old film-school pal of a friend, who had been kind enough to set this all up, and we were taken to the café place with a lady (whose name escapes me, sorry!) who also just happens to be a Scaper (and very nice she was, too). We all lunched (and damn, the food was delightful, super-cheap, and all freshly cooked), and then went to the employee's store. Which sells DVDs. Naturally, Friends season 5 was mine (the UK DVDs kind of suck, you see).
Let's talk. And talk. And talk some more.
After parting ways and returning to the hotel, we didn't know what to do. Angie and co disappeared, and Mary and I were left with SL. Mary wandered away to do some stuff, leaving SL and I chatting. This turned out to be quite amusing, as we ended up chatting pretty much all day and night with few breaks. It was good to catch up though (we hadn't spoken in over a day on chat!). So anyway, we waited with SL as she was going back to Catherine's. PyeCat came to pick her up, and we all said hi, and after speaking on the phone, Mary and I were invited to Catherine's for pizza. Who can pass up home-made pizza? Clue: Not me. So Pye drove us to Catherine's. It was busy. Lots of traffic. Oddly, the car journey turned into one of the most amusing parts of the trip, as SL sat up front to give directions, with Pye's laptop which was running a GPS. In short, the laptop was spouting off directions in that computer voice, and often totally wrong. But it caused much hilarity.
At Catherine's we had a great laugh (SL and I went into chat briefly, which was fun), ate some delightful home-made pizza, and Thinkum was collected from the airport bye Pye. Yay! Once we had eaten, things split off into two groups. The adults in the lounge area, chatting like adults do. And the two condescending kids (SL and myself) chatted at the dinner table. And chatted. And chatted some more. Apparently, we ended up wowing everyone with our ability to converse and comprehend each other while virtually sleeping. Indeed, much of the conversation was spent with my eyes closed. But it was fun. On the way back, it was down to me to wield the GPS and help. But I was tired. I did OK, as Mary fell asleep in the back of the car. I kind of sucked, though. One minute, we were driving along, the next minute, we were coming off the freeway by the hotel. Guess I fell asleep. Sorry, Pye! But the night was really enjoyable. I love spending time with people, just chatting and all the stuff, so it was a nice first full day back in Burbank. And thanks again to Catherine for her hospitality and Pye for letting us get rides in his car. And guess who was waiting when we got back to the hotel room? Cyn!!! We hugged, and it was nice. But damn, we were tired again, so off to bed I went.
And so it begins...
Yes siree, the con was about to kick off. But not before a quick trip to the store for camera accessories. As always, I got a bit worried that we were going to be late, and given what happened last year, that's probably not all that surprising. After this little detour (which saw me visit my first Suncoast and drool over the anime the huge anime section), we got back to the hotel. I waited for Mary, as she had to pop to the room to get something, but I soon spotted SL standing outside. And who was she with? Maayan! Given our 2-second hug-hi-bye encounter last year, I'd wanted to see her again. Bless her cotton socks, she was ill this year, but we chatted a bit before Mary came back down and got us registered with our nice little hand stamps. I believe it may well have been around this point that I also saw (and uber-hugged) Fialka and Cofax (another person who I only got to see briefly last year). Of course, it may have been a little later, but at a con like this the memory kind of meshes into one.
We quickly entered the auditorium and snuck to the back to watch Virginia Hey and Paul Goddard on stage. They were hilarious. Really. This was the first time I'd seen either of them in person, and the gorgeous Virginia tore up the stage with her hilarity, and Paul was an extremely interesting character on stage. This was a lot of fun. Or at least what I saw of it. You see, part way through, I get a tap on my shoulder from Ryan from SaveFarscape.com (who goes by the nick Xothas), who introduces himself and asks me to step outside in a few minutes... for the panel.
The Saving Farscape panel
They couldn't find Angie, though, which was a problem, and of course, thanks to our trip to the store, I'd not seen where they were seated. Thankfully for me, Angie just happened to be seated at the end of a row, so I ducked down and embarrassingly went and tapped her, asking her to come along. So outside we go, where we see Red from Save Farscape (another person I only briefly got to see last year). She went over her ideas for the panel, and it looked good, but there was a little controversy because Voy, our other panellist, was nowhere to be found, and no one had seen him. Poor Angie, all the while, is extremely worried about missing her Virginia Hey photo op (her, Ellie and Linda bought ops with almost everyone... insane, but loveable). I reassured her they would sort something out, and I tell Red, who tells Ryan, who walks with the Creation guys, and tells her she can have it straight after the panel Virginia wouldn't leave until they got their op. I thought this was a really nice gesture. But this only meant that Angie could now worry about the panel. She was so nervous! Bless her. Anyway, Voy is soon found as he enters the convention centre, and we all are taken backstage, quite literally, to behind the stage. It's not really very extravagant, but hey, it was funny watching Virginia and Paul finish on stage from behind them. We were introduced to Adam from Creation, who was very gracious and thanked us all for coming. Then on came our music video, and out stepped Red, to introduce us.
First on was Voy, then me, and finally Angie. We all take our seats, and I realise I'm not really ready for this. I'd thought of a few answers to amusing questions the night before, but it was all washed away as I looked all over the audience but couldn't see a bunch of friends who were supposed to be there. Red then decides to embarrass the hell out of me by saying that if the panel all went pair-shaped, I would do a striptease. I quickly refuted the claim, and from here on in Red had another nickname for the rest of the con; "Bitch". Thankfully, she understood the humour behind it! Onwards and upwards, and Red says that we'll all say a little bit about how we heard about the cancellation. Voy begins, and pulls out a nice piece of paper with notes on, that he brings out. Angie and I look at each other with great fear. We didn't come prepared. I spew off a bit about hearing in the chat and wanting to do something about it, and throw in that I really didn't come prepared. Some people laughed. I was glad; it made me feel better. Angie decides to agree with me, and tells her little story, adding that she'd never have thought she'd be sending her bra off at the beginning of all this. Red then says how she wasn't at the cancellation chat (Sacrilege!), and talks briefly more.
Around this time, I see the group of friends (including Mary) that were missing walk out. Only they were led out by a certain troublemaker known to the fans as "Froon". Shock horror, after Red speaks some more, we open the floor to questions, and up first is that very same Ricky Manning. He asks two questions: a) can he have a spank, to which Angie asked from who, and b) how the save Lexx campaign is going, to which everyone laughed, and I answered that it was going well and we'd all send in our fake breasts to Sci Fi. Yay... more laughs. I was feeling at ease now. So anyway, then came the real questions. Some were funny and some were really nice. I particularly want to thank the lady who came up and said thanks to me and Mary for this very site; your words were very nice and I appreciated them a great deal.
Actually, as a quick aside for anyone who came up to me and said nice things about the site; if I seemed a bit uncomfortable, it wasn't you. I really, and I mean really appreciate everyone who comes up to me and talks about the site, and thanks me for it. It should really be me thanking you because, honestly, if no one read it I doubt it'd still be here. But anyway, I know I seemed uncomfortable to a few people when they said it, but believe me, it wasn't you. I was majorly tired the whole con weekend. It really took the energy out of me. And to be honest, I never know what to say. I feel a little awkward, so sometimes I don't say much. That's just because I don't know what to say when people start saying nice things about the site, but I really do appreciate meeting the people who visit this site and/or post on the forums. I really do. Even if I look really tired/scared/evil, I still really think it's gracious of you people to come and say things to me. Honestly, I'm not intentionally trying to put people off!
Back to the panel, then, and we did get an interesting mix. I was a little disappointed as we didn't get all that many questions, more just people coming up and using the panel as their open forum to talk to people. And while I admit I found it a bit inappropriate and, dare I say, irritating in a couple of cases, I can see why some people probably thought they wouldn't get another chance to address the audience. So it wasn't a biggie. I just had fun cracking one liners (including attributing my therapy bill to SL and announcing that my favourite rumour about season 5 was that Maay Soo was going to take over the show), and dropping everyone in it when Angie mentioned that I cancelled Farscape, by announcing that Angie, Red and Voy were all in on the conspiracy. Anyhow, it was lots of fun (and thanks for the hugs TBZF!), and I would actually quite like to do it again some time.
The Farscape on the web panel
After this panel, I returned to the main hallway, as it was a break. I chatted to Maayan and SL again for a bit, and Mary when she returned from the room. Thinkum mentioned that she might ask for me to stand in on the upcoming panel since they were a person short. Thankfully, after I declined and moved swiftly on, their final panellist arrived. So back in the main room, and the Farscape on the web panel began. Participants were Thinkum, US Angie, AmyJ, KernilCrash and un4scene.
Ricky Manning had agreed at the last minute to jump up on stage and moderate, which led to some interesting questions. I was actually tempted to ask one myself, but he hogged the panel so much that by the time they opened the floor they could only take a couple. It was fun, though. And the questions that Ricky asked were probably far, far better than what the audience would come up with. More taxing, too.
It's the voice of Pilot, and he's human!
Lani Tupu was on stage after a short break (where I'm sure I just flopped in my seat, searched for scripts or bugged someone else), and he was fun. It's funny, because I laughed at much of what he had to say, but I don't really remember it. I was so sleepy and couldn't really pay too much attention. But he was a really good presence, as you can usually count on at a Farscape con. I was also ecstatic that Julie's excellent video was a winner, and introduced him. She was so taken with him the entire time. I won't even go there with the details!
After the panel, the events were over. The gold-ticket Jeopardy game (I believe hosted by Virginia and Lani) was up later, following the autograph sessions. We took the opportunity to skip out early, and were invited to dinner again. Catherine, Thinky, Pye, SL and Tracy were all off to a Chinese restaurant, and so, when invited along, Mary and I jumped at the chance.
The great Chopstick Challenge
Again tonight, Mary, SL and I got a ride with Pye, only this time we were GPS free (a shame, since the talking computer was fun!). Instead, we played follow the car (which featured the obligatory LA traffic). Anyhow, we eventually got to the restaurant, which was further away than I expected, and entered. It was a nice little family-run kind of place, but also quite scary because many of the cooked animals were there hanging up literally in front of you as you opened the door. I prefer not to be able to make out the animals I'm about to consume. Nevertheless, we sat down to a nice, traditional style Chinese meal. This time, with a difference (for me at least) my first use of chopsticks. It was quite the experience (and apparently entertaining for onlookers), but I did manage to finish my entire meal with them, and was really getting the hang of things before we left. After, we were taken down the road to this awesome ice cream place, where the employees sang when you bought one. It was surreal, but fun. I was extremely tired though, and thankfully Mary conversed with Pye on the way home, because I was drifting in and out of consciousness the whole time.
Back at the hotel, I was tired, but we did a brief stint in the bar with Cyn and Julie. I soon got extremely tired though, and needed to go to sleep. I'd almost swear I heard a story about close encounters in our hotel room's bathroom, but I think it was all a dream...
British boy redux
The next morning, we all get up and decide to do breakfast as roomies. Julie and Mary are taking forever, so Cyn and I decide to go get a table. On the way down, we pass Angie and co, who tell me that Raelee Hill is in the restaurant eating breakfast. Now, I try not to fanboy out, but I'm yapping away to Cyn. Raelee finishes her brekkie and pops outside, so Cyn offers me the chance to go give Raelee her con book (since she wanted to do it while it wasn't busy). Of course, I hadn't seen Raelee yet, so my Brit conservatism left me no chance to actually do it. Cyn did it, and as we continued to eat, Raelee came in and sat with Jonathan Hardy. When Mary came along though, she couldn't stand by and see me being all fanboy. Mary had spoken to Raelee at length at GalaxyCon earlier this year, and Raelee recognised her immediately. She had a few words, and them came and dragged me over (and promptly left), since Raelee apparently told her to bring me over. I went and said hi, had an embarrassing moment with Mr Hardy, and didn't stay long.
I must admit, a pet peeve of mine is fans who annoy the cast while they're just wanting to have their own personal time. Especially when they're eating. I mean, if they come to the bar and say hi to people, I like that a lot. But it's the fans who persist and clearly don't know when to leave who annoy me. I kind of felt like that myself on this occasion, but I made sure it was short and sweet (and Raelee did remember me from last year!) so I didn't overstay my welcome, and both she and Jonathan had long finished their breakfast by then, but were just hanging around for a chat. It was a nice little experience, though!
Photos with Ben
After breakfast, I waited around for Mary to go and get our tickets, and joined Angie, Linda, Ellie and US Angie in line for the Ben Browder photo op! While we waited, a Creation employee asked said that they didn't want the talks to be disrupted by gift giving during the talks on stage this year, so asked if we'd prefer to give them at autographs or photo ops instead, or some time else. Everyone seemed pleased that the talks wouldn't be a shamble like a few ended up last year (notably Claudia Black's), as people would have time to stop and chat briefly at autographs or photo ops to give gifts. You were still asked to be prompt to keep things moving, but there was none of the moving along that was experienced last year. In short, this aspect of the con was so greatly improved, that it made a huge difference on the perception of events.
Anyhow, poor Angie almost seemed ready to faint, and Ellie and Linda were getting anxious even though they denied it. I was immensely looking forward to meeting Ben for the first time. When we finally made it into the room, Angie was up first. She gave Ben his con book and he gripped her hand. She was so nervous it was unbelievable. As she walked back round the tables all flustered, Ben called out to ask if she'd be out in the audience during his talk. A hint of things to come... After Ellie and Linda had their moments, and bless them they all enjoyed every second of it, I was up. I went up and said hi, but I really didn't have time to say much at all, so I was kind of wondering if he somehow knew it was me. Which he didn't. But thankfully I'd get to make up for that.
Following the photo op, I had lost everyone. It was then that I met AmyJ and PKBarb from Karlsweb. They were really nice and friendly, and it was good to finally meet them face-to-face. Then I spotted Mary and went to speak to her, but we were wondering what happened to everyone else, so I wrote a nice message on the convenient whiteboard in front of the entrance (which would later become full).
Hints of things to come...
Rockne O'Bannon, series creator and Farscape's god-like creature was on-stage next, so we went in and took our seats (well, we stood at first, but were ushered to seats because we were a fire hazard). Rockne came out with thick tape across his mouth, but soon took it off to drop major hints about the future of a certain show without coming out and actually saying it. Things like suggesting he should be at home writing hour three, and that if ever there was a time to read between the lines, it was now. He was great, and I was very pleased that I finally got to see the man that created it all live on stage.
After Rockne's talk, I spotted everyone else so Mary and I went and plonked ourselves with them, so ended up spending some panel time with Fialka, Cofax, SL, Maayan, and everyone else who came and went. I'd also gone and conversed with Angie and the UK contingent before events continued. Up next, it was a woman I'd already seen twice before the one and only Claudia Black.
I am Farscape!
Claudia Black came out on stage and had a fair bit to say. She was a lot of fun, as usual, and talked a lot about the yoga she'd been doing this year, and mentioned that she may be busy later in the year, and she'd eventually be able to explain what she had to give up to be busy, because it wouldn't make sense right now. She answered everyone's questions gracefully (and, thankfully, people actually asked questions this year). Part way through her talk, SL, Maayan and I left temporarily they needed coffee and I needed to phone home. Of course, the phones still didn't work internationally, so it was pointless. We returned though, in time to see Ben bounce out on stage with Claudia's guitar. She spent a considerable amount of time tuning it up and preparing, but she did eventually sing and she was very, very good. It was a very nice thing for her to do. Anyway, after her song, she exited to the left, and Mr Browder was up next, with a few surprises in store...
I can't do this without notes...
Ben immediately read out some note cards which he said were talking points that Henson had e-mailed him before he left. They included such points as Henson negotiating with Brad Pitt to play Crichton, and that Homeland security say the Scarran threat is real (and his wife told him). Ben is a funny guy. He soon sprouted off about the work he's been doing, including work on ABC's Behind the Camera. He also made a few ladies' weekends, when he invited three webmistresses of Ben Browder websites our own BritAngie, US Angie and Danielle - up to receive posters of him posing as the Six Million Dollar Man.
Ben then invited questions from the audience, which included such incredibly original ones like "What was your most memorable Farscape moment" and "What is your favourite food". I know, I know, some people haven't heard the answers to these questions before. But still, I wish sometimes people would ask something different. And the question about wishing he was married to Claudia was really bad taste. I mean honestly, asking that to a married man on stage in public is a rather awful thing to do. Anyhow, Ben was great, and it was nice to see him on stage for the first time.
The Ben and Ricky show
After a short break, we were treated to a live commentary on Ben's second episode, "John Quixote". The participants had been shuffled a little, but it ended up being Ben Browder, Ricky Manning, Gigi Edgley, Jonathan Hardy and Paul Goddard. It was nice to hear, since I've always wanted to hear some of the creative minds talk about this one, but unfortunately at times the sound on the episode was just way too high to hear what was being said (although they did turn it down shortly after it started). This was definitely the Ben and Ricky show, though, with the other participants not really saying much at all (although they all seemed to be enjoying watching the episode immensely).
Next up on stage were Raelee Hill, Jonathan Hardy and David Franklin. I must mention that I was a little annoyed that the three didn't get their own time on stage. All three of these people could have a blast if given their own time, but sadly it wasn't to be. Nevertheless, they had great chemistry when they were out there together, and it was a lot of fun to watch. Jonathan spent a lot of time going off on tangent after tangent, but Raelee and David managed to hold their own. Their stories of being recognised were hilarious, especially Raelee's, and they all just played throughout like a comedic triple act. The day was long by this point, but they were all so energetic that it was quite invigorating. Sadly, they got way too little time. Alas.
This was the last on-stage event of the day. It's quite amusing because Raelee's photo ops were supposed to be up next, but the Creation guy who spoke to us didn't really make anything clear, so we didn't know what was going on. I dragged the three women out of the hall and quickly spotted Cyn, who had just had her photo and said they were going on now! There were no queues, so we quickly went and had ours done. This was funny, as I sat down with Raelee and she asked how my day was. I answered and as we were talking, the first photo was done and the camera guy said it didn't come out, so he'd take another. "Sorry, we were chatting," she said. It was funny if you were there. Anyway, we carried on talking and, third time lucky, it came out good. Raelee was lovely (again), and this wasn't the last time I'd see her...
Only the gold-seating cocktail... err, dessert party was next. Of course, Mary and I were cheap-seaters, so we were more concerned with what we'd do for dinner. We waited with SL and the others for a while, but they weren't making much progress, so we went back to our room. We still hadn't decided, but I realised that I hadn't yet collected my Ben Browder photo op. So back down we went, into a room with a bunch of little ones handing out the photos. It was pretty funny, as this little girl pointed me out. Anyhow, on the way out we bumped in to Ricky and a couple others, who prompted us that dinner was this way. So off we all went (with me making a stop off in our room to drop off my photo) to the hotel restaurant.
When they eventually prepared a table big enough to accommodate us (we were a pretty huge group Maay, Em, Fi, Co, SL, Mary, Cheryl...), we all sat down and made our orders. This was a lovely dinner (even if SL was whacked), and we all got to chat about all sorts of things. Cofax even waxed poetic about Firefly, in particular the episode "Out of Gas" (which I've since watched, and decided to buy the DVDs). An amusing moment was when Tiriel came over, and I didn't know who it was. When I realised, I jumped out of my seat (not literally) and pounced, and we were chatting. SL and Mary also said hi, and it came up that Tiriel hadn't yet got to meet BritAngie. Well, we would rectify that. Ricky then mentioned that Angie had alluded him, too. Oh dear. "I can take you to her," I say. And so I would. While we were speaking, my lovely and tasty unfinished (slightly) dinner was taken from my table, though. I wasn't that bothered, but damn, he could've asked!
Anyway, once dinner was through we eventually got to take Ricky and company to where Angie and the Brits were. With them hugging and chatting, we left. My work here was done. Several of us (including Mary, SL, Shrift, Cofax, and I believe a couple of others) headed to the bar. Shrift had a load of music videos from several shows on a CD, which she wanted to show us. SL went and got her laptop, but it really wasn't working in the bar. So we headed up to Cofax's room, and there we spent some time watching. Eventually, after watching some awesome videos, people began to drop off, with some returning to the bar. I was getting very tired again, so Mary and I headed down to the bar, saw Cyn and Julie, SL and others, and I chatted briefly before heading to the room and to bed. It really was one of those weekends. I was so tired. But there was one day of major activity to go, and it included the breakfast, which I was quite looking forward to. So sleep was mine, for a time.
Today was more subdued than the others. Or at least, would be. I was quite excited in the morning, despite getting up rather early, as it was the charity breakfast. Mary and I headed downstairs, as Cyn and Julie were off to some other thing, where we faced a hefty queue. Mary decided to go and try to find Angie, Linda and Ellie in the queue, and was successful. I was embarrassed to jump the line, but Mary said no one would care, since everyone would get in anyway. She did have a point. As we all talked, Thinkum and Catherine came along and said hi, and before they could go to the back of the line, we asked them to join us. So they did. As it turned out, we managed to get a nice table all to ourselves. One of Catherine's friends joined us later, and since we had two free seats, AnnieBW (I believe) and her man also sat at our table. Anyhow, we were all chatting and having a laugh, and immensely enjoying the British chocolates that the women brought with them, and had a rather tasty breakfast.
The woman from the charity said a few words, and when she came round the tables she explained a little about how it worked. Lots of groovy items were donated for the auction, though I was disappointed that Thinky didn't manage to get the writer's notes from one of the episodes. Anyhow, the guests eventually came in and everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to Gigi Edgley, and then the guests ate. I was pleased that the vast majority of people stayed in their seats, as the charity lady got on the mike and guaranteed that every guest would make it to every table (and I do believe they did). There was the inevitable impatience and attention grabbing going on, but for the most part, it was very nice.
The first guests to our table were Ricky and Cheryl Manning, and I managed to get some really nice pictures with Cheryl, which I was really pleased about. She's so adorable. Next round was Ben. This was amusing, as it was my first meeting with him. Suffice it to say I got to call him names and be nice to him all in the space of a few minutes. I'm just glad he got the British sense of humour and wasn't offended! Unfortunately, he moved on not long after speaking with Mary and I, so I kind of felt I hogged his time. I was assured by most of the table, though, that they couldn't care less because they all knew how much I wanted to meet him for various reasons.
Next to our table was Raelee Hill. She's a sweety and, as I'm sure you'll remember, made my con last year. I'd already met her twice the day before, so I was happy. Well, she started round the other side of the table and made her way round. When she got to Mary, they hugged again, and Mary decided to ask her to pose with me. You know something is about to happen when she comes and stands behind me and says, "I love having pictures with this one..." The hilarity that ensued really doesn't belong on these pages, but suffice it to say that everyone who witnessed events was in stitches of laughter as Raelee was inducted into "Dani's Bitches" (anyone on the forums will know what exactly that means, if not, ask any of the site staff and I'm sure they'll happily tell you!). I got out of this with a wonderful picture of Raelee and myself again, so I was ecstatic.
Next around was Francesca Buller. She is another person I'd been hoping to meet, as I've always thought she was an absolutely awesome actress. Like Raelee, she made her way around the table. Mary introduced us, and she had a brief chat with us, before moving along to Thinkum. I managed to point out that Thinkum ran a website too, which was nice. Francesca was just as adorable as you'd expect, and both myself and Angie got to give her some items to smuggle out just before she left our table, which was nice.
Finally, Gigi made her way round. Angie, Ellie and Linda gave her some birthday cards and gifts, and she put on a t-shirt that another UK Scaper who couldn't be with us had sent over. She eventually made her way around after much hugging and kissing, and was also told of "Dani's Bitches". Of course, with Gigi up for anything, well, this was also hilarious. Onlookers were amused and/or jealous. I was having a great time. The highlight had to be when I was told firmly, "Sit down!" You don't argue with Ms Edgley.
So lots of great memories came out of this breakfast, most of which aren't detailed above, but hey, you got the overview.
That is the correct answer!
Ben Browder was back on stage shortly after the breakfast ended. Mary and I joined back up with SL and company, and we all went to watch Ben. Who was, once again, hilarious. After saying a few words about the intelligence of fans (which is also something which has baffled me on occasion), he took questions. But this time, he also decided to ask the fans questions themselves. Some answers were creative, some were typical, but this was a lot of fun. He was really great, again, and it was sad to see him go, as he was heading back up North to do some more shooting.
By this time, my energy was drained. The combination of jetlag and the breakfast had taken all I had, so the rest of the day was tough to get through.
The next event up was a meet and greet session with David Franklin and Paul Goddard. Both guys just came and sat on the front of the stage, and the fans just went up and huddled around. It was informal, but no one was encroaching. It was actually really nice to see. Although I caught glimpse of a few fans I wished I could've rescued them from.
It has to be the hat
Francesca Buller was out next, and while more subdued than some of the guests, she more than made up for it with her amazing presence. She is really fantastic, and spoke eloquently about her work on the show, especially as War Minister Ahkna at the end of season four. She spoke about her influences and other such things, and also working with her husband on Farscape. Francesca was one of the guests I was most looking forward to seeing, again, as I'd never got to see her around before, and she didn't disappoint.
Next up was the fan fiction panel. Unfortunately, because of the schedule, a lot of people missed some or all of it, which was a shame. Cofax, Shrift, AerynCrichton and USCBdad were on, with Co chairing. She brought up some interesting points and got the panel talking, and a lot of what was said was interesting. The questions they got were pretty provocative, especially those from Ricky Manning.
Look at the princess
Bianca Chiminello took the stage after the panel, and was awesome. She is absolutely stunningly beautiful in person, and had some excellent answers to questions. In fact, some of the questions asked were really good. We got hear about her audition process for Farscape, how she felt on set, how she got in to acting, and all sorts of other fine things. She was excellent, and was hilarious in not wanting to leave the stage. She has a real presence.
After not getting nearly enough time, Bianca left and it was time for the weekend's final talk. And it was left to the same person who was last up in 2002.
Hip hop queen
Gigi Edgley was last up, and bounced onto the stage. She serenaded when the audience all cried "Happy birthday!", and she even rapped for us. She went straight to the audience questions, which included such things as asking where she got the dress she wore on Saturday (a long story to do with the Logies in Australia). She talked about her upcoming projects (including a Blackjack series), working with Poison (the group she's in), and all sorts of other things. She exuded energy, as always, and it was good to see her there in better health than last year.
And that was a rap. The Creation people thanked us all for coming, and we all kind of dissipated. Mary and I had agreed to dine with Cyn and Julie as Julie was leaving that night. But since they were both in the long-ass autograph line, Mary, SL and I decided to exchange gifts and stuff. Annoyingly, one of the people I had gifts for had to leave early, so after waiting over an hour with SL in the lobby (talking her ear off again), I got word and was disappointed, although I completely understood the circumstances (you just don't argue with a tired woman!). I left the items with SL to give tomorrow, as we would not be around, and eventually we ended up in the restaurant again.
The last supper
Amusingly, we got a table close to SL, Fialka and group who were also dining, and we were opposite Angie, Ellie and Linda. Danae and Robyn eventually joined the four of us, and we all ate. Believe me, this was one of the most hilarious dinners I've been to. We were all having a laugh when SL's group left for a club, and she joined us (she's too young, bless her). Cyn had a huge plate of food, and decided to pass some to SL... knocking over Mary's coke in the process. So we all move out the way, and I start to clean it up. The waiter comes along. Does he offer to help? No. Cyn apologises for the mess she made, but he's not all that concerned. Still no help. "What were you drinking?" he asks Mary, "At least I can help you with that." We were in stitches, when he comes back with another diet coke. I'm there cleaning up, and he's not even offering to help. SL asks for some water to clean her trouser leg. "Is that sparkling?" Oh. My. Word. Then, the final nail in the coffin, as he turns to me. "Do you need some more rags?" He went off to get the water, and we were all crying with laughter. It was just so hilarious that this waiter was letting us sit there and clean up ourselves, making no effort to help, but only concerned with making sure we got our drinks.
Anyhow, after the dinner, we all spent some time drinking in the bar. It was again a long night, and at one point Gigi Edgley and Paul Goddard came in together, and hung with the fans. At times a couple of people annoyed me as it looked like they were cramping the pair, but for the most part, as usual, the majority was nice and let them get on with it.
At one point, I spotted Tiriel and that was it, I brought SL on a mission; she would meet the Brits. So we run to their room, but they were all ready for bed, being completely whacked. Heh. We wouldn't let that stop us. We went back down, and dragged Tiriel up to their room and thus, they all got to meet, and again my work was done. Back in the bar and I saw the Save Farscape staff again. Red once again mentioned the stripping, and I once again called her a bitch. It was like symmetry. I forced her to hug me before she left, and then went on to Waltersgirl and Jul (who I had managed to miss the whole con, but I was glad I got there in the end). We then got to more drinking.
Alas, it got to the point where I really needed sleep. Cofax, Fialka and friends had not long returned from the club they went to before Mary, Cyn and I decided to head back. I said my goodbyes to SL and everyone, and off we went to the room.
It's a Disney adventure!
Yes, today we decided to take a tip to Disneyland. Myself, Mary, Angie, Ellie, Linda and Mesascaper made up our contingent. We all met in the lobby and waited for the shuttle. Cyn was there, too, as she was leaving. We managed to get group pictures of all the site's staff together before we left, and our goodbye to Cyn was a sad one. She is so great.
Linda had the pleasure (I'm sure) of my company on the way to the depot place, where we had to stop off and change. Let me just say that I wasn't please with the amount we paid for transport (we'd booked through the hotel) considering the service we got. I was really tired, so I'm sure I sounded like I was whining, but it wasn't intentional. The booth women where we booked our tickets were annoying, too. Everyone had cash but me, but they decided we had to all pay one way. All cash, or all on my card. Why on Earth, I don't know. It seemed like they were being rude and awkward. Alas, I didn't have enough credit to pay that much on my card as well as the hotel (and had no use for the cash), so Mesascaper kindly took everyone's money and was done with it, allowing me to pay her back at the hotel later.
So off we continued, in a larger bus (thankfully). We eventually arrived after I'd talked Angie's poor ear off. It was fun, but I was not happy that Space Mountain, my favourite ride, is closed for refurbishment until 2005, to re-launch as part of the 25th Anniversary celebrations. Besides that, it was cool though. The magic wasn't quite there, having experienced it the year before, but it was nice to be with friends for the day. I got some great stuff, too, including a cool lightsaber keyring, a ball that makes noises when you bounce it, and the cutest little plush toys Stitch, Nemo and Indiana Pooh for a friend at work.
After a long day, we headed home. I slept much of the way, as I recall. We were the first to be dropped off, except the stupid driver couldn't get to the hotel properly, so dropped us round the back. And we paid how much for this?
Anyhow, back at the hotel, everyone else was tired and went to bed, but Mary and I were hungry, so decided to dine in the restaurant, where I decided to buy Mary dinner. We sat and chatted, and amusingly towards the end, Kevin Weisman who plays Marshall on Alias (or his clone) came in with a lady, and they sat and ate. When Mary went to the bathroom, she caught a look on the way back and agreed that it was him. As a huge Alias fanboy, I was pleased. Anyway, not long later, we'd eaten our food and went off to bed.
Today was the day that we had nothing on, so were pretty much planning on relaxing and unwinding. Everyone had left, and Angie, Ellie and Linda were going on a city tour. Mary and I decided to take a trip around the mall, so returned to the one we'd been to on the Friday before. Only we went with a difference this was my first trip on a motorcycle! It was a lot of fun, surprisingly, and I wasn't scared. Which was good.
After gawking at the DVD releases and stuff in Suncoast and other stores in the mall, we were on our way out when we passed a movie theatre. We decided it'd be a great idea to watch a movie today, since we had no plans and I'd never seen a movie in the US. Mary wanted Master and Commander, but I firmly wanted to see the latest Disney flick, Brother Bear (being a Disney whore). I won out, as Mary decided she wouldn't get to see it otherwise, and so after a detour to Best Buy (Yay! I made it to a Best Buy!) to wait, we returned and watched the film. It was great, I thought, and was very similar in style to The Lion King, which is my favourite animated film of all time.
After the movie, we returned to the hotel where we found Angie, Linda and Ellie. Or rather, I'd left a call on their room's phone. When they called back, we decided to invade their room for chocolates and pizza, which we ordered in. We ended up watching Gilmore Girls, eventually, since Mary loves it and we'd all been to the set. I even got to see some anime on Cartoon Network, which was nice, since it's stuff we don't get here. I was a bit cranky at some points tonight, and so should apologise again to Mary for going off at her at one point. It wasn't intentional, but it was all taken out of me by now. It was actually a really nice and relaxing day, all things told, and I'm glad I stayed the extra time over what I did the year before. But it was late, and after saying sad goodbyes to the Brit collective, off we went to the room for the final night's sleep.
The end of an era
And thus, this was the last day. I had to catch my shuttle to the airport at 1pm, so we didn't have much time. Mary and I talked, and at one point she ran to the store, leaving me to watch blanket coverage of the stupid Michael Jackson charge ordeal on TV. Joy. Eventually, we both packed and made it down to the lobby, where we paid and waited for my shuttle. When it arrived, I gave Mary an uber-hug as we said goodbye, and boarded the shuttle.
And thus, my Burbank journey ended. This year was excellent. Yes, it was better than the first, but that was still awesome, because it was the first and was a totally different experience. This year, I got to see all my friends again, and got to talk to most of the people I'd been waiting to see much more than the last time. I got to actually have conversations with them and spend time with them, which was wonderful and was far and away the highlight of the con. Thanks to everyone who made this event special. In particular Creation, who host the thing. Of the guests, extra-special thanks to Ricky and Cheryl, Ben, Francesca, Raelee, Gigi and Jonathan, all of whom were fantastic, and several of whom I'd waited a long time to meet and they didn't disappoint. Thanks also to Mary, again, for being wonderful and putting up with me through the good and not so good moments. Cyn and Julie for being my other roomies. Angie, Linda and Ellie for just being awesome. SL for listening to my blabbering and being my fwiend. Maayan, Fialka, Co and the rest of the chat gang for just being there and so cool. Thinkum for her general awesomeness, along with Catherine for her amazingly generous hospitality, and Pye for his travelling. Errr... US Angie, Nora, Danae, Robyn, Mesascaper and everyone else who was just awesome this weekend.
That just about does it, I think. If I forgot anyone, it was wonderful to meet you and I haven't forgotten you, I just probably can't remember your nick. Thanks to everyone who said hi, especially those who visit the site and/or forums. You rock and we wouldn't be here today without you! And thanks to everyone who read this. Peace out.
If you have any comments or questions about this report, or just want to say "hi", feel free to click here to e-mail me.