|Burbank 2004 Staff Reports: Dani|
The third year in a row, but what was it like?
By Dani Moure
A general feeling
Overall, this year was completely different to the last two years that I've been conning. Because of a change in jobs, I lost most of the leave entitlement I'd built up, which meant I could only take five days off work. With the weekend, that equated to seven days, but thanks to the beautiful time difference, it meant I'd fly out on Thursday morning, arrive in LA Thursday afternoon, then leave Tuesday evening to arrive back home Wednesday afternoon. Which worked out to four whole days, plus two halves. When you have a three day con to contend with, that's not great. So I had a strange perspective on the con this year, which may differ from a lot of other people's problems.
In general, I thought the con was handled OK. It wasn't quite the awesome experience it was last year, as there were a few issues of contention I had, which were mainly some old style Creation ways returning. One thing I will definitely commend Creation on though, right up front, is that Adam and Gary, the two head guys at the company, were extremely open to feedback and encouraged it a lot. I think to be honest they get fed up with reading about problems after the fact, and there were definitely a few takers over the weekend, though many left it too late to say anything. They also handed out some feedback questionnaires, which was a great touch as it allowed everyone to have a say.
From a personal standpoint, I didn't give much feedback on the weekend outside of the questionnaire, mainly because my biggest issue was with the breakfast (see the Sunday report), which is something that couldn't be solved until next year anyway, so I figured my feedback was best left until after the con. There were a few audio issues on day one which were sorted, but the issues I'd heard a few people had with autograph lines and things are something I didn't experience, as I didn't do any autographs. There's also another issue that we had at the con that we'll definitely be raising with the Creation head honchos (and we tried to solve over the weekend but it proved too much of a task for several reasons). My only other problem came to light during Sunday, too, and the final event of the con, so it was too late, but definitely left some issues to be looked at for next year (yes, I'm talking about the questioning in the Ben and Claudia appearance).
But overall, I think most people will have had a great time this year. A few things weren't quite as good as last year, which was great, but on the whole it was a good con with room for improvement next year. But then, cons are a learning experience.
So on with the show...
What do you mean five days?!?!
The journey started as my dad drove me to the airport on Thursday, 18 November 2004, the usual cold November morning. This year I'd decided not to fly United Airlines, because of the problems they've been having, and instead opted for Virgin Atlantic.
It was an interesting journey. The staff were all friendly at the airport and on the plane, but I soon realised I preferred United's food over Virgin's. In no small part because they actually give a proper sized can of Pepsi, as opposed to a mini-size Virgin Cola. What I did like, though, was on demand entertainment. With a great selection of films to choose from, I decided I'd finally check out The Day After Tomorrow. I definitely enjoyed it, but an hour in and I was so tired I just fell asleep, only to wake up during the end credits. OK, so then I decided I'd had my sleep and could move on. But after half an hour of Hellboy, I was bored and tired and once again gave in. half an hour later I woke up to see Selma Blair's cool blue attack zap thing scene, which is really the reason I'd even put the film on in the first place, and then I slept some more. I couldn't be bothered to finish it. On waking up again, I thought I'd leave the good films I'd not seen for the return journey, since it clearly wasn't working (though that proved to be a mistake). So I checked out Shrek 2, which is superb and hilarious. I did slip out of consciousness a few times, but finally saw the end credits in full (with the donkey babies), which was cool. I then listened to some of Natasha Bedingfield's album as I continued to drift in and out of sleep, and finally landed.
It was Thursday afternoon, around 4pm (the flight was a bit late), and I was not looking forward to the long shuttle journey to the hotel. They suck more than suckiness itself. So imagine my relief and surprise when I was walking out the exit to find a phone, and spotted Mary and Steve (from my first year, for those keeping track). Thankfully they'd come to pick me up, which was great, so we went to Steve's house, watched some of a very insightful political documentary about the US election (though my brain wasn't fully engaged in intelligent mode), before heading back to the hotel. On arrival, we saw Jul from WatchFarscape.com heading out to get some supplies, hugged and said "hi". We then went back out to Universal City Walk for dinner, which was great, as we also had a go on the arcade and stuff while there. It was a nice and relaxing first night.
On getting back to the hotel, I was really tired, and in our room we were greeted by Cyn! Yay! It was wonderful to see both Mary and Cyn again, and be rooming with them, especially since it didn't look like Cyn would make it for a while. I have a feeling that this is where we also went to the bar for a quick look in and first met Cyn's friends Danae and Robyn again briefly, Shannon and Linny (who we would see a lot more of over the course of the weekend), and also the lovely Julie who we'd roomed with the year before and it was great to see again. I didn't last long before I had to go and get some sleep... so off to bed I went.
When time catches up with you
In the past two years I've travelled to the US, I've only had a little bit of jet lag that was easy enough to cope with. This year was totally and utterly different. I was totally, utterly and completely jet lagged on Friday (and indeed, much of the weekend), so much so that I spent much of the day randomly falling asleep and struggling to keep my eyes open. So naturally, I was a bit flaky. I know I saw a couple of people on the Friday and was a bit weird, especially PKGrl who waved at me and I almost totally blanked her (though I did get to apologise to her later in the weekend in the lift). I'm really sorry if I did that to you, I can honestly say it was the weirdest day and at times I didn't know where I was, I was that tired. So apologies.
That morning we had a quick breakfast in the hotel (as we did most days), before heading over to register and actually get in to the con (we had, of course, missed pre-registration because it was so busy). At breakfast, my three Brit girls – Angie, Ellie and Linda – walked in, so naturally I ran up and hugged them all! It was wonderful to see the three of them again. A couple of other UK friends had decided to make the trip this year, David (Cardelia) and Adam (Yenrug). It was nice to see the pair of them again, too (yes, we all live in the same country, but don't see each other that much!). They had all made the mistake of telling me that there were scripts to buy in the dealer's area of the con, so naturally I was all the more eager to head on over and get the con started.
And the flood gates open
The convention was set up much like the past couple of years, so it felt strangely familiar... and yet not. All of Friday, partly because of the jet lag, I think, I honestly didn't feel comfortable or really "right" being there. It just felt really weird. But anyway, going in Mary was trying to get hold of someone (who completely flaked us out several times and gave us a bit of a headache at times, though it was kind of sorted by the end of the weekend, and that's all I'll say), while I went and bought some of the scripts, my photo op with Ben, and a gift or two! Since several of us were in cheap seats again, peg leg... I mean Cyn, Shannon, Mary, David and myself sat together in the row just by the door, which had plenty of leg room and was good for Cyn, who was wearing a cast, but still wouldn't last the whole weekend in that spot.
The convention opened with a few words from Adam, and then went on to the first winners of the music video contest. I admit I am a bit fussy in what videos I like, but I did see several really good ones over the course of the weekend. We were on the look out for one in particular, from Julie, which would eventually be shown.
The one, the only...
Ricky Manning, the executive producer and writer that we all know and love took the stage first. He had plenty to say, as always (and most of it irrelevant, as always!). Actually there were a few of the usual Farscape stories, and Ricky was his usual entertaining self, so much so that there wasn't even time for questions, as his time was over before we got to them.
Next was the trivia contest, which to be honest usually bores me a little (I never want to go up there, but know I could knock the socks off of most people who compete), so I wandered out to the lobby. There I saw all the lovely ladies from WatchFarscape.com, including (but I'm sure not limited to) Red, Waltersgirl, Jul, Buggs and a few others. Here is also where I blanked PkGrl for several seconds (I am really sorry about that!) thanks to my horrific jetlag. I also explained to Red why it felt weird being there, like I kind of didn't fit (as I mentioned, it was a weird weekend all round).
But after some chat, I headed back into the auditorium to watch the DVD featurette "The Making of The Peacekeeper Wars", which was on show courtesy of Lions Gate, who will be releasing the DVD of the mini-series this January in the US. It's a wonderful little featurette that goes behind the scenes on the shoot of the mini, and includes interviews with several of the cast and crew, including Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Anthony Simcoe, Gigi Edgley, Wayne Pygram, David Kemper, Brian Henson and several others. It's fantastic to see such behind the scenes footage at long last, it's just a crying shame that it's so short.
I slept with John Crichton
Next up on stage after another video (and still no sign of the one we were waiting for), we had Bianca Chiminello, who played Jenavian Charto in the "Look at the Princess" trilogy. I really like Bianca, because she's such a nice, friendly and giving person. She shared some hilarious stories, including one about locking herself out of her car, getting no help, feeling great when she managed to get in and then locking herself straight back out again! She also revealed who her favourite kisser was (the diplomatic answer!), and who her favourite character was. Sadly she only got half an hour (as did several of the guests), which never seems long enough, but probably any longer would've seemed too long (especially for me, as I was having trouble staying awake and concentrating).
The next event after an intermission was the Scape The World review, with Red and Nicole from Henson. They went over what had been done recently in terms of the campaign, and gave out the prizes of three original props from the series for the winners of the Scape The World Contest.
I am Scorpius
Wayne Pygram was the next guest to take the stage, and since this was the fourth time I've seen Wayne on stage, I have to admit it started to feel like old ground (since people have a habit of asking the same old questions). He did thank everyone for their efforts in bringing back the show though, as did most of the cast members who appeared, which was really nice. Wayne talked about a few things like what he'd been up to since, and of course the usual things about playing Scorpius and what it was like.
Not out of rudeness, but out of sheer tiredness and since I'd seen Wayne before, I switched off several times, as the day really had started to wear thin.
At some point though, someone came and grabbed me (I forget who it was, but I think it was Maayan, who I'd caught up with during the intermission, and hugged and stuff), and said SL was waiting outside the auditorium. So yay, went outside and hugged her and we all caught up, which was nice.
Then there was a long break at the end of the day, and no one really knew what was going on for dinner. So, Mary, Cyn and I decided to host an evening of Thai food and pizza in our hotel room! It was great, as we had the three of us, plus Julie, Shannon, Linnie, David (another UK friend), Adam (ditto), Angie, Ellie and Linda all huddled in our room as we got in some food and drink. It was amusing as Julie had brought some wine, and was drinking plenty, getting a bit tipsy. I tried to have some, but unfortunately, Mary decided it would be better off down the side of my bed, on the nice cream carpet and in my shoe... That'll teach her not to throw stuff again! Thankfully, with Shannon's wonderful cleaning skills, you'd never have known about the spillage on the floor (and the hotel didn't either), so we were saved (though I did get a bit grumpy, because I was so tired!). Anyway, we all chatted for some time about plenty of random stuff (and I still tried to get in as much shut-eye as humanly possible while still being active).
There's a strange signal coming from that room!
Everyone then headed back to their rooms as those of us with tickets headed down to the Signal Room performance (Signal Room being the band made up of Wayne Pygram, Anthony Simcoe, Steve Edwards and Jerry Kortegast). I was with Cyn, Mary and David to start with, but down in the auditorium we found Em (who I promptly hugged and said "hi" to), Maayan and SL again. Maayan and Em went off to dance, but none of us would, until Em dragged SL and me to the front where we had little choice but to join in (though it was often less dancing than it was jumping up and down randomly). The performance was really enjoyable, and naturally everyone asked for an encore at the "end" (which was well prepared for). Anthony also shared some amusing stories behind some of the songs, much to everyone's laughter.
After it was over, there was a screening of the entire three hours of The Peacekeeper Wars in the main auditorium, but we were way too tired for that, so headed to the bar (the logical choice, of course). We stayed there for some time, and I chatted to several people, from the fellow Brits to other Americans, but eventually it all got too much for me and I headed up to the room for bed (still made it back after Mary and Cyn). I was so tired it was ridiculous, and I was out like a light.
The heart and soul of Farscape
The next morning we got up and went out, if I remember rightly, for the Scaper breakfast. We went to this nice small homely place, which had tasty food. Julie got lost on the way though (thanks to Cyn's shoddy directions!), but we got there in the end. It was nice, though.
It was an early start on the Saturday, so quickly after breakfast we headed over to the auditorium, where we reclaimed our seats from the day before and settled down to Brian Henson. He's someone I'd not seen before, so it was great and really refreshing to see the man that brought Farscape to our screens live in person. He had plenty to say about the return of the show, and how much the fans were involved in bringing it back. He also shared a few of his experiences from on set directing the mini-series, in particular in how it felt to return to the show after such a long time. He also relayed an experience he had of working with a great cast, in particular Ben, telling of how when he was unsure of how the end scene would be shot, in which Crichton had to go through so many emotions and at the end of it be ready to sacrifice his wife, baby and friends. So Ben suggested shooting it in one go, and while Brian really didn't think it'd work, sure enough they got everyone in place, three cameras shooting the scene, and in two takes they were done (originally it was scheduled for two days).
The true star of the show
David Franklin was on stage next, after a single music video. He is always really full of energy and is amusing to listen to, and he is so into his character of Braca that it makes him great to watch. He shared a few amusing stories of his time on set and what he'd been up to, and like many of the guests just didn't have enough time on stage (I had to question giving this half an hour and then two fan panels almost an hour and a half).
Next up was one of the fan panels, the "Frelly Awards", which were... not my thing. I won't go in to great detail, and I don't want to do any bashing, but I just don't like things like this that are a lot about self-praise. Most people left the room for these, and I can't say I blamed them. I stayed though as I'd been joined by Maayan, and we chatted and shared each others' shoulders to nap a bit while this event was on.
The fanfic panel was up next, and I must admit I just don't read Farscape fic like I should, so I don't find much to get out of panels like this. From what I did stay for (we went on a bit of a wander during part of this panel), it was as informative and thorough as you'd expect.
I'm still a fairy... No, I'm not dead!
Next on stage was the young Gigi Edgley, who was back to muse some more about Chiana and her experience of filming The Peacekeeper Wars. As always she was highly entertaining, as she's never short of words and has some of the funniest stories. In particular she relayed what it was like to get back into the swing of things as Chiana, and find her character again, as well as what it was like wearing the new contact lenses to act as Chiana's new eyes (they didn't quite go as planned). She also told the lovely story of her final scenes with Anthony Simcoe (during D'Argo's last stand), and what it meant to her since they've worked together closely for so long. She also answered a few questions (again, when you've been to three conventions in a row, they start to sound the same).
Gigi was followed by her pseudo partner Anthony Simcoe, another big ball of energy. I've seen him several times now, much like several of the other guests, but he was as fabulous as usual, and was very frank and honest regarding most things. In particular he talked about how he didn't want D'Argo to bite the bullet, and had several reasons why not (the way he told the story of how he learned of D'Argo's fate during the pre-shoot drinks was hilarious, along with the ten page e-mail about why he shouldn't). He did explain why the writers thought it was important that John had to sacrifice something dear to him, and why that should be D'Argo as his best friend, and as usual was complementary and grateful for the experience of playing D'Argo. Anthony also discussed what he's been doing since Farscape, and in particular his project called Eddie's Place in Space. This short comedy pilot was filmed on the back of The Peacekeeper Wars, using a lot of the cast and crew that were available from that, as well as sets and props, all on their own free time. It was really nice to hear about this, and you could see how much it meant to him and how the experience humbled him in a way. I really hope that somehow we get to see it eventually, as it truly is a labour of love.
After Anthony left the stage, there was a considerable intermission, so I took the chance again to take a break and have a wander around the dealer's area. Mary and I again had a few issues that I don't really want to discuss much here, but nevertheless we'll get them resolved I'm sure. I also chatted some more with Angie, Ellie and Linda, as well as Cyn and several others. At some point today (I think it was earlier in the day, but it's all become a blur!), I also had the pleasure of saying "hi" to Cheryl again. She's such a wonderful person, and I listened to her talking about bonsais a little (something I know nothing about, but am slowly learning something).
I wear the pants in this relationship!
Back in the auditorium, and the stage played host to Francesca Buller, recently known as War Minister Ahkna, but also having gone by the names of Raxil, ro-NA and M'Lee. It's rare to get the opportunity to hear what she has to say about things, so it's always a delight when she gets on stage. It does annoy me that she gets a constant stream of questions about Ben and what it's like working with her husband; though it's understandable it is very frustrating as personally, I'd rather hear about her and her own experience on Farscape. Nevertheless she handles it so well, and recounted a number of things such as what it was like playing the empowered Ahkna, and indeed she did explain what it was like playing opposite Ben and even shared a couple of really nice experiences.
After Francesca left the stage, it was time for the costume and talent contest. This year, Creation decided to have Francesca, along with Ben Browder and Ricky Manning be the judges. As it was Ben's first appearance on stage, it was guaranteed to get people to stay, and sure enough, stay they did. It was an odd affair, but it did have some good costumes and a few good talented pieces. I didn't stay for the whole thing as I was popping in and out of the auditorium, but the winning entry in the talent contest was Arlo Williams who sang "Since I Started Farscape" which she sang to the tune of "If I Were a Rich Man". She was very good, and the song was hilarious. Definitely a worthy winner. The winner of the costume contest was a couple that were dressed up in Farscape gear, had their son dressed as a Peacekeeper and also had several other costumes. They deserved to win for sheer effort alone.
The evening event was the Dessert Party for Gold ticket holders, which obviously most of us couldn't go to, since we didn't hold gold tickets. For dinner this evening though, Cyn, Mary, Julie, Shannon, Linnie, David and myself went to an all-American "restaurant" called Hometown Buffet. Julie had said she wanted us Brits to have the full on American experience, and sure enough, this was it. For those who don't know, it's basically a place where you wait for a table, pay about $11, and then serve yourself as much food as you can eat. Dessert included. It's crazy, and something you'd never get in the UK (not like this, anyway), but it was a great dinner, and we had some great chat while eating. In particular I got conversing with Shannon about her time at college in the UK, since she went to college down the road from where I now work! It was also highly amusing because not all of us would fit in Julie's car (massive though it is), so Cyn, Shannon, David and myself went with her while Linnie and Mary went on Mary's motorcycle. The amusing thing here was that for the first time in ages, it rained! Yes, it never rains in LA, but sure enough it belted it down this night. So Julie ended up having to give Mary a ride back with Linnie and then coming back for us, as no one had brought a coat or anything.
Back at the hotel, and while the Gold patrons decided to go off to their evening dessert party, many of us (myself included) opted for the bar. Eventually everyone seemed to join in and the whole night melded into one memory, and I really can't remember much of what happened (other than the waitress was really patient with serving us drinks, even when one guy went off without paying!). I don't remember when, but at some point I ended up heading to bed.
Today was the early day... The day of the breakfast! I made Mary get us up really early (I do stuff like that), and we went down for the breakfast (unfortunately Cyn didn't have tickets, as it sold out before she knew she could come). Mary and I were down surprisingly quickly and queuing, where we saw Adam and David also in line. Much to our shock, Angie, Linda and Ellie weren't there yet, and eventually stumbled down a good twenty minutes or so after us! But when we got in, Mary and I joined Adam and David at the table, and the three Brits joined us when they got in. Since our table wasn't full, some other Brits also joined our table (whom I'd never seen before, but were very nice).
We grabbed some food (and it's here that I learned that bacon really is considered finger food in the US... I never really believed it before), and we chatted as the silent auction went on. I have to say I think the auction is a great idea and the charity is really good. The guests soon arrived, and gradually made their way round. Sadly, Ricky Manning didn't make it to the breakfast this year (boo! Hiss!), but David Franklin was first to our table. He chatted a bit with the ladies, but didn't get much time. Next round was Ben, who looked extremely spaced out and really tired the whole day, and just kind of gazed at everyone during the few seconds he got at our table. It's a shame that the guests weren't allowed a bit more time, which was my main point of contention (the time was managed far better than this last year, as were the guests going from table to table). Also, I'll have to throw something at him the next time I see him for not recognising us (because, you know, we're the most important people there!). Gigi Edgley was last to us, and she was great. She sat down next to me and we had a quick chat, then she was quick to make me have my photo taken with her (despite Creation saying not to have these kinds of photos at this event, which I always think is a bit silly, and is asking a lot since it'll never happen that way). She made her way slowly round the table, and even nearly came back to us a second time when her minder thought she'd skipped us. Overall, the breakfast was a good event, but partly I think because of the way I felt this weekend, and also because it was less relaxed than last year, I didn't enjoy it as much. Last year's was definitely far better.
But onwards it was to the photo ops with Ben and Claudia. This was weird as no one really seemed to know what to do if they had just a Ben op (since he was after Claudia), and we waited in line for ages. Eventually I did get my picture done, and it was funny because again Ben looked zoned out, and I was chuckling with the other Brits that he didn't seem to really know much of what was going on (I may have been wrong, but he really seemed tired and not quite his normal self, bless him). Anyways, after the photo ops it was back to the hall to wander until the next guest.
I created this show, dammit!
Rockne O'Bannon was the next person to take to the stage, though unfortunately a group of other Scapers had decided to take our seats while queuing for the photo ops, and stayed there the whole day. Oh well. Rockne came well prepared, with some answers to some questions that he'd been given beforehand by a couple of friends. They included discussing what it was like to write the mini-series, his thoughts on the return of the show and such. He also shared an amusing scan of a bootleg cover of The Peacekeeper Wars he'd been given by a friend who'd seen it in China. The cover has a picture of Ben with a beard from Jeremiah Crichton, D'Argo, Zhaan, some woman with a lightsaber, some spaceships from Star Wars, and the logo reads "Jedi Knights 2". As Rockne mused, you'd think the people in China wouldl get the DVD home, watch it and realise this really isn't Star Wars! Rockne was another guest for whom half an hour just wasn't enough.
Look at the princess
Straight after the creator was Felicity Price, who played Princess Katralla in the "Look at the Princess" trilogy. She was a lovely person, though I admit her inclusion on the schedule baffled me somewhat. I didn't stay for her whole talk (and then felt a bit bad for her because it seemed like a number of people also did the same). Apparently there weren't that many questions either, which was a shame, but I think people have a tough time coming up with things to ask someone who appeared in one three-part episode several years ago. She did a great job though.
It's the big one...
After a music video (and I don't think it was here, but sometime on Saturday, Julie's fantastic vid was shown, and got the biggest applause of the weekend, much to our, and her, delight!), it was time for the "main event" of sorts. Ben Browder and Claudia Black, on stage for over two hours. I have to say they rocked the house, and them being together certainly kept it fresh for me, since I've seen Claudia a lot now. They seemed to manage to divvy the time equally between them on the fly too, which was nice. They shared so many stories that I really can't recount it all (and yes, I can't remember it all now anyway!), but one of the more amusing things were the constant references to Michael Shanks, following Claudia's guest appearance on Stargate SG-1, which is just all the more amusing in hindsight given that Ben Browder has now been announced as a regular cast member for the show's next season, and Claudia will be back for a quarter of it as a guest star.
Unfortunately the questioning went the way of terrible at several points again (I really wish there was some way to screen the questions for this pair, because people love to talk about themselves when they ask questions), although thankfully when the first person asked for a hug Ben told them that they might get one afterwards, to close the floodgates here before they answered. Also, as always, many of the questions focused on Claudia (which I always find frustrating), and lots were of the "cover your ears Ben" variety (rolls eyes).
But anyway, back to what was discussed, and Claudia had a bit to say about her upcoming movie projects, One and Naked in London, and also showed the excellent looking trailer for One. I think it's safe to say that everyone was thinking about how awesome this movie would be. She also discussed, after a question for our own Cyn, how fans could go about helping with regards the production of these movies. There were also discussions of when the pair "argued" (not really arguments as such) on set, continuous references to bending over and picking stuff up, toilet breaks (with practical jokes) and loads more. It was really fun and amusing despite my issues with it, and the format of pairing them up worked far better than I'd thought it would.
This talk was followed immediately by a DVD commentary, for which the pair were joined by Ricky Manning, as they spoke about "Out of Their Minds". It was fun to hear a few anecdotes and facts, though it's always hard to hear what is going on because they can't reduce the volume every time someone speaks like on the DVD.
The show closed with ScaperOpera, a guide to Farscape in musical form, done by the SACC. I was just too tired to stay for most of it, but what I did see was quite creative and funny.
The last supper
We then all headed over to the hotel restaurant for the last dinner of the weekend, since many people were leaving on Sunday night or early Monday. At our table, it was (deep breath) Julie, Cyn, Danae, Robin, Shannon, Linnie, Mary, Angie, Linda, Ellie, David, Adam and myself, and thankfully most of my other friends got the table right behind us (the WatchFarscape.com and UK chat crew). While there were several moments of throwing bits of paper and things across the table (and sure enough, several ended up in my nice pasta! You know who you are!), it was wonderful to be surrounded by everyone including those I hadn't got to spend as much time with as I'd hoped. After the food, I was on a mission to damn well get a picture with everyone I'd missed over the weekend, as last year I'd missed out several people and not realised till afterwards. So I didn't want to leave anything to chance! It was great as amongst the photos I got to chat with everyone some more, and there were some hilarious moments, some quite deep conversations and the like, but it meant a lot to me to be with everyone, because it was really nice, and it's the main reason I even went this year.
After a very long night, I was very tired, so well after midnight I headed up to bed and said goodbye to everyone who was leaving, which was very sad.
The day of relaxation
Since it was my last full day, and indeed my only full non-con day, I wanted to have a nice relaxing day with friends. We said goodbye to Angie, Ellie and Linda, who were flying on to San Francisco, and also Cyn who was leaving later. Then SL came to the hotel and picked up Mary, David and me, and we went cruising through LA (she was driving, and a manual no less, which you don't see much in the US. The woman can do amazing things!). There was traffic and it did take a while, but it was wonderful to just be in the car and talking, and we got to drive down some famous roads which really aren't as great as they're made out to be (like Sunset Boulevard). David and I also got to experience the strange phenomenon of filling up at a US gas station (it's different to how we do it over here).
We finally got into town, and we headed down to the beach, right on the Pacific Ocean. It was a beautiful sight, and it was a really interesting experience. We then decided to go watch a film, but had to wait so went to a restaurant which was absolutely delicious. They served the most beautiful garlic bread ball things which were just... the nicest thing I'd had all weekend. The salad, which I had, was also huge, and I was glad I ordered a half portion on SL's advice. It was massive. They don't do portions like that in the UK!
Then we headed to the cinema to watch The Incredibles, a film I couldn't wait to see. It was an absolute blast, and is definitely a film I'd love to see again. It's just so funny, and by the end of it we even had a new name for Crazy Irish Girl – Syndrome (you have to see the film to understand why)!
After the film, it was pretty late so we took the trip back to the hotel, where I crashed out relatively quickly (while trying to watch some anime and stuff on Cartoon Network!). I really enjoyed this day a lot.
The last goodbye
On Tuesday, I was on a mission. I didn't want to let the opportunity go to waste, as I'd been wanting to pick up an American PlayStation 2 for some time (as there are a few games available in the US not out here). So Mary kindly drove me to Fry's, where they had just one left. Thinking I might find a bundle or deal at a games shop, we drove to the mall (and Toys R Us), but sure enough, everywhere was sold out. Oh joy. I had cunningly hidden the last PS2 at Fry's though, and when we went back there, I picked it up along with a couple of games which were cheap (Xenosaga Episode I and Gungrave Overdose for those who care), and I was happy, as it fitted in my suitcase even with everything else. Yay!
Then SL came to pick us up (again), and this time Mary followed us (David, Fi and I were in the car with SL) as we drove back into the heart of LA. We stopped over at a coffee shop place, where we checked the internet (I had to check the weekend's football scores!), and then we dropped Fi off at the place she was staying. Then, Mary, David, SL, Fi, Fi's friend and I headed to a wonderful place down on Hollywood Hill, which was just one of the most gorgeous places I've ever been to. It was really breathtaking and we sat there and chatted with the other two lovely people who joined us, and it was just really nice again to sit and chat and just chill out with the people I'd been hoping to spend time with.
Sadly, it was all over too soon though, and we had to race off to the airport. So I said goodbye to everyone, including Mary, which made me very sad, and the SL and I took the journey to LAX. En route, we stopped to get some pizza, and also nearly had a car crash (honestly, LA driving is a bit crazy), but we made it there in one piece. I was again sad when I had to say goodbye to SL, and wandered in to check in for the flight home.
The less said about the flight the better, to be honest. The entertainment was awful, since it wasn't on demand, and had a terrible selection. I opted to sleep when I could, but the guy in front of me decided to be an ass and leaned his seat back farther than I thought possible, so I was cramped the whole time (and it wasn't even his allocated seat!). Anyhow, I made it back safe, went through the usual worry of thinking my luggage would get lost on the way back, and eventually got home, where I promptly fell asleep!
This year was a really strange year overall for me, even more so in terms of the convention. I felt really jet-lagged on the Friday, which was horrible as I was tired, cranky and stressed, and the problems Mary and I had were so frustrating they stressed me even more (though I have to say a big thanks to Jul, Red and WG, who all listened to my problem and shared similar opinions, and Jul even went to efforts to sort it, with hilarious results. They and Mary all rock for everything they did). It was just too short a trip really, and had it not been for the con, I'd have rescheduled to a time when I could get longer off. But nevermind, it was lovely to see everyone and spend time with all my friends again, in some ways I chatted to people even more than last year. My only other thing was that I wasn't all that personable during the weekend, and while I tried to be as nice as possible I think I flaked out on a few people (aside from PkGrl who I have mentioned). I apologise again if I did; I really wasn't with it, and if I came across as rude it was totally unintentional.
As for next year? Who knows. I may get on over to the con again, but it all depends on where 2005 takes me. The show will potentially have a whole new audience through syndication by then, so it'll be an interesting event for sure. And remember, if you have any issues with the con this year, or suggestions for improvement and things, please let Creation know. They really can't help if they don't know what you think is wrong with things.
I'll finish with a thanks to Gary and Adam for running the convention, all the guest for attending (Raelee, you were missed!), and of course, all my friends, especially (in no particular order) Mary, Cyn, Angie, Ellie, Linda, SL, Maayan, Em, Fialka, Red, cofax, Jul, WG, Julie, David, Cheryl, Buggs, DoA, Ricky, Shannon, Linnie and anyone else I've forgotten (sorry if I have). You all made my con by being there and I'm glad I got to see you all again. And thanks to everyone from the site who said "hi". You were cool, and I find it really humbling and gratifying, so thanks.
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.