Friday Kim and I left Scranton very early in the morning. Basically, I left the house just ten or fifteen minutes after I would have for work. Ugh! The first day of my vacation and I still had to get up at three in the damned morning. Oh, well. After all my lists and redoing the lists, I forgot something. Thankfully, we'd only gotten a few blocks and were able to turn around easily enough. I really did need the credit cards I'd tucked away so I couldn't touch them until Dragon*Con, though. I guess I did too good a job of dismissing them from temptation.
The flights were easy enough, no drama: Avoca to Cinncinnatti and Cinncinnatti to Atlanta. Since we carried all our bags on, we had no luggage to check and retrieve. No muss, no fuss. Same with getting the train to the convention. We paid for our Breeze 4-day pass and got on the northbound train. Did you know that there's an escalator in the Peachtree Center that is just plain huge? I asked one of the Marta workers and he thinks it's about 120 feet long. I have a picture of it from both ends. Wow! Anyway, we got our badges after getting turned around a bit, and then I went to check us in at the hotel.
Okay, Kim must have packed anvils, because her suitcase weighed a friggin' ton even after she took things out she thought she'd need. So, I went back down the escalator and was told by a Marta gentleman to get off at the Civic Center exit on the Northbound train. Um, no. Not quite. I got off there and realized the bus I needed was not there. So, I asked another gentleman and he said I was actually needing the Midtown station, one back along the rail. Alright. This time I was at the right place. A lovely young woman saw me looking at the map trying to confirm my spot and volunteered the information I needed. We ended up on the same bus and she and I had a conversation the whole way. She told me exactly where to get off and how to walk to get to the Days' Inn.
Checked in and of course, we have a problem. First, the door was being painted so I thought it was a utility room and walked around the building, up a funky flight of stairs to a grassy area and thought I was going completely nuts because I couldn't find the damned room! Went back around and asked the maintenance guy about it and realized it was my room. He was done, so he left and I settled in a bit. The wireless doesn't work. However, according to the clerk I can use the lobby's wireless. Wa-hoo! "Yeah, Kim'll love this", I thought.
So, back to the con. I found Kim's booth and there was a brief panic when I thought I'd have to give up my panels to attend it. I really didn't want to give them up. I guess everything worked out, because I was safe from Girl-Wonder duty all weekend, although I did hype it to some people so I wouldn't feel bad. Well, actually I didn't really feel bad anyway, because I wasn't here to hawk a podcast, I was here to attend panels and stalk people for autographs.
So, first panel, Brad Dourif. For all the creepy, fucked-up characters he plays, he is a genuinely NICE guy. I may not like the Chucky movies but he has a true affection for them. It was interesting to to hear some of the stories he had. He really loved the work he did on LOTR. Too bad I never watched them closely enough to notice him. Of course, his work on X-Files really left him with good memories, too.
I intended to go to the Stargate panel next but quailed when I saw the line looping and wrapping back in on itself, so I ate, then hit the Dealer's Room and Walk of Fame instead. At the Dealer's room I found I poet of really awesome dark and twisted poetry. I promised to go back when I decided which book I wanted. More on that later. I did, however, buy a new signature poster. I found a Creature From the Black Lagoon reproduced movie poster, not just a reproduced lobby card! It's 11x17 and I tagged their business card so I can see if they carry Abbott & Costello, The Giant Gila Monster and Court Jester. I also got a little baseball card-sized cartoon of the Creature. It's really cool.
At the Walk of Fame I got (paid for) autographs by Mickey Dolenz, David Prowse, Robert Englund, Brad Dourif, Matthew Lewis and James Hong. I wanted Adam West, but $50 an autograph was a tad more than even I could justify. Peter Mayhew was very tempting but I wanted the others first. Let me list my impressions of the guys.
Mickey Dolenz: a tad spaced out, but nice.
David Prowse: more bemused by the whole thing, especially when I placed a Creature poster in front of him. He reminded me he had nothing to do with it. I told him I knew that, but I liked having all my signatures on one thing rather than millions of photos to keep track of. He did sign it with "David Prowse, Darth Vader".
Robert Englund: another total sweetie. I had to bring up the fact that I loved him as Willie. When I showed him the poster he reacted great. Apparently, he's always liked it and he even acted with Julia Adams in a movie and the actor who played the scientist was his teacher! What an amazing coincidence. It was just awesome.
Brad Dourif: again, really nice. When I showed him the poster he agreed that it was an awesome movie.
Matthew Lewis: I told him I couldn't wait till the the last movies so Neville could kick ass and he totally agreed with me, of course. His reaction to Creature was that he'd never seen it before. I, of course, told him he absolutely had to and he said he'd look for it. I hope he does. He was neat, even when being embarrassed by another one of his fans who was there.
James Hong: LOL. He played along that he had been in Creature in the make-up. It was cool.
Second panel, Emerging Infectious Horrors! Alright, with a title like that, I had to go to it. The panelist, Dr. Cmar, works at Johns Hopkins with, you guessed it, infectious diseases. He talked about diseases that the medical world considers current major threats, like the flu and measles. It was interesting, although I chickened out on asking a question because all the others were bringing up medical terms I could JUST decipher. I felt like an absolute stooge in there a few times. His panel on Sunday is A Bloody, Burning Painful Death Is Coming For You! Yes, I will be attending that one.
Third panel, She-Roes. Tammy and strong female characters in books, need I say more? Actually, it was a well-rounded panel with lots of opinions from them and from us. Kim and I both went to this one. The only one we attended together, actually. After that, I went back to the hotel. Had a bit of an adventure when I realized the two buses I KNEW I could take stopped at 10 and 10:30 and it was past 11. Thankfully the bus driver asked me what I was waiting for, else I would have had another hour to wait. I got back to the hotel along with another convention guest who knew just the way to go and crashed.