azn_jack_fiend: (drugs)
This doesn't have any specific spoilers, so it should be fairly safe.

- Friday morning: flew in from Atlanta. I developed an awful crick in my neck on the plane. Picked up the kidnap van from a hole-in-the-wall rental place. Went to Travelodge, which is a pretty cool hotel and super cheap, but our room wasn't ready so I went back to the airport to pick up [ profile] heddychaa. We meet IRL for the first time! EPIC!

- We checked into the Travelodge and walked over to the Marriott. I'm wearing my Gwen outfit. We walked around and boggled for a while. Met a ton of people! Missed Cush Jumbo's panel :-( We caught the 5:30 panel on S4, but there wasn't really enough S4 content for my taste, and the panel suffered from the lack of microphones. None of the smaller panels had mics, unfortunately. We met Ian McNiece in the lobby, which was awesome. I forgot he'd done all these other wonderful roles besides Churchill in S5, such as the Town Crier on Rome, and Baron Harkonnen.

- We gathered up about 8 people and I drove everyone to an awesome Italian restaurant in Hollywood. The food was inspiring. I had carpaccio and pumpkin ravioli, mmm.

- Went back to the Travelodge and crashed. I woke up at 4 in the morning because of jet lag, of course, and had a bizarre dream where I was watching S4 with heddychaa, and it was sort of like an experimental Japanese movie from the 1960s called "Woman in the Dunes" but set in Florida where Jack and Gwen were living in an abandoned beach town and David Tennant comes over and starts sleeping in a broken-down Ford truck next to their restaurant. And we were on the seventh episode of it and complaining to each other that not much had happened and it wasn't quite what we were expecting of S4!

- Got some people together for a breakfast at IHOP, then went back to the Marriott. The 2pm panel, "Writing in Someone Else's Universe," was fantastic. It was great hearing so many professional writers talking about their experiences. Larry Niven was on it (boo, racist neckbeard) but didn't say much of anything. Jane Espenson, Doris Egan, David Gerrold (he's literally a neckbeard too but I LOVE him), Jose Molina, Nancy Holder and a couple more writers. The subject had a lot to do tangentially with fanfiction, because of the sometimes-hazy line between fanfiction and tie-ins, and I really think I learned a lot from it, since I have dreams of being a professional writer one day. David Gerrold had some great anecdotes about his famous rejected gay episode of Star Trek, and Trouble with Tribbles, and Jane Espenson and Doris Egan said some interesting stuff about S4... but I have to say, the best anecdote of all was from the writer in the middle (was it Craig Miller?) who told a horror story about being brought in to fix a sort-of-Stargate story on a wretched show that died a deserved death. The premise of the 30-minute episode was that a young space cadet wanted to get a tattoo. He was supposed to write thirty minutes of action/adventure based on that terrible premise. And not just that, but the producers wanted to include the messages that TATTOOS ARE BAD (I have a lot of them so I was lol-ing). So the character had to want to get a tattoo, but the producers told him that by the end of the episode, she had to have changed her mind because TATTOOS ARE BAD. And not just that... the character design for the character included her already having an obvious tattoo! Like Teal'c or something. So he had to rationalize that away and pretend it wasn't really a tattoo, she just painted it on every morning. Now that's a challenging writing assignment, and I doubt that whatever he wrote didn't suck even though he wanted to do his best!

Also, somebody asked a Gwen-bashing question near the end, but I missed it, and Jane and Doris might have missed it too, because they answered it in such a way that it had nothing to do with Gwen, and the answer was really interesting in a general sort of writing way.  That's the only sort of fan obnoxiousness I personally encountered during the entire convention, and it went over my head anyway.

- I wanted to make it to the Whedonistas panel but got delayed en route, so I ended up just hanging out and socializing until 4pm, when I went to the 4pm kaffeeklatsch thing with David Gerrold that I'd signed up for earlier. The vast majority of it was David Gerrold talking because he is a relentless self-promoter and anecdotizer, which I didn't mind at all because his anecdotes are so freaking awesome. Of course, he fielded several inevitable questions about WHEN WILL THERE BE MORE WAR AGAINST THE CHTORR, promising that he was almost done with book five "except for six scenes he wanted to add." And he wanted to go back and revise the first four and update them and they would all get rereleased around the same time. Oh boy. Anyway, I love the Chtorr books and I'm dying for more, but I don't see much point in pressing him for a timetable, I'll just be patient.

I loved hearing his perspective as someone who has survived in a cutthroat commercial industry and still maintained a really high standard of artistic integrity. I got a wonderful insight into how he's done it. He explained that back in the 60s he used to go around telling everyone he was a nice guy, and no one believed him. So he started going around telling everyone he wasn't a nice guy at all, he was an asshole, and then everyone started trying to convince him that no, he was a really nice guy. Expectation management!

I chatted with him a little bit at the end, and he signed my copy of "The Martian Child" with a personalized inscription :-)

I met up with heddychaa and we headed over to the autograph room where we chatted with Jane Espenson for a bit! heddychaa already wrote that up over at tw_gleeclub. It was awesome. Also, I ranted at Jane Espenson about the poor quality of previous Torchwood tie-ins, saying that 70% of them were based on a hackneyed slasher-film formula with way too much violence and not enough sex, and that I hoped for a different approach in future tie-in novels. Jane Espenson was remarkably gracious in the face of a large woman with a name badge AZN Jack Fiend yelling about THE PROPER RATIO OF SEX TO VIOLENCE but I'm sure she has surreal encounters like this all the time. Anyway, like heddychaa said in the write-up, we are both really, really pumped about the flashback episode she mentioned writing.

We also got to meet and get some photos with Cush Jumbo, who's just gorgeous in person and has a very warm personality. I asked her if she knew what had happened to Lois, and said I was dying to know what had happened to her character! But she didn't know. The photo heddychaa got with her is just amazing, they have wonderful poses.

We gathered up a bunch of people, 11 in all, and went off to a Middle Eastern restaurant in Culver City. It had damn good food and amazing Turkish coffee which I really needed to stay up. Boy did it hit the spot. A belly dancer came around just as we were getting our drinks. Now, my mom used to be best friends with a woman who ran a Lebanese restaurant and I grew up seeing lots of bellydancers and thinking it was a fun and totally, totally family-friendly sort of thing, and I take my kids to restaurants with bellydancing here in Atlanta. But some people at the table (and not all of them were Canadian, lol) BUGGED THE FUCK OUT when I took out a dollar and stuffed it in the dancer's hip girdle. I was encouraging other people to do the same and they were looking at me like I'd asked them to commit a sexual atrocity on live television or something! It was absolutely hilarious to me (and if one of those bugging-out people was you, I am just poking gentle fun, I swear).

We made it to the last panel of the night on erotic fanfiction and feminism. I was not satisfied with how this panel was run, and I think, like the TW S4 panel, it would have benefited from a set schedule and mics. However, nothing was said that I violently disagreed with, and I got to get a bit of James Goss-bashing in. My fervent dislike of Almost Perfect is very much of a minority opinion in TW fandom but I just can't help inserting it whenever I can.

We hung out some more, saw some cool karaoke performances including a massive multi-performer Time Warp, then passed out at the Travelodge around 2AM. Neither of us drink (me permanently, because I'm allergic to alcohol) and heddychaa temporarily, so we were pretty much on the same non-drunkenness schedule.

(Also, something horrible apparently happened at the Joss Whedon sing-along, which I didn't attend and have no concept of what such a thing would consist of, and [ profile] rm  wrote it up at, along with some other great, lyrical posts about the broader meaning and atmosphere of the con.)

Next morning I woke up early and drove by myself to visit a Buddhist temple, which was great. Before services I ate an awesome chorizo plate at a Mexican restaurant. Then I met back up with everyone at the Dennys next to our Travelodge. I used to work at Dennys a long time ago so being in there kind of creeps me out. The rest of the day we socialized, I bought my kid a sonic screwdriver in the dealer room, which I promptly lost, so I had to buy him another one.

Then we went to see the big Jane Espenson and Doris Egan interview at noon. I typed that up and loved it, except for the colorblind comment, of course. I'm going to post about that at [ profile] foc_u in a little bit, and link to it here. Let's just say I'm keeping my expectations in regards to race fairly low. As long as it doesn't fail on the level of, say, Firefly, I'll probably be OK.

I understand a lot of people are worried about "Jack being Jack" but that's never been a concern for me. I've always seen RTD as having a great love for the character, and thinking any show run by RTD would de-gay/de-bi/de-omni Jack just doesn't make sense to me. Of course I'm invested in the character as a super-fan but not as an LGBTQ person, so there may be visceral intuitive things I'm missing, but on a logical level, I didn't see any circumstance in which RTD would go along with that, considering his history and pugnaciousness. The panels we attended and the rumors I heard make it pretty clear there will be some more light-hearted sexual content and humor and wit even though S4 will be dark and intense too. I'm totally OK with that. Like I told Jane Espenson, I love it all, S1, S2, CoE. I'm in for the ride and I like the fact that I don't know exactly what's going to happen, despite my incessant spoiler-fiending.

Then I drove a bunch of people to In-and-Out Burger. I was very intent on typing up the panel so I didn't socialize that much. Then I said goodbye to heddychaa (CRY CRY CRY) and ran off to return the kidnap van and go home to Atlanta. I'd gotten used to riding that beast and I'll miss its strident reverse beep and toss-passengers-around-like-marbles brakes.

If I didn't get to say goodbye to you... GOODBYE AND HAVE A SAFE TRIP BACK! I had a wonderful time. I'm going to miss talking Torchwood and Who to real live people, and I hope to have this experience again!


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August 2011

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