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Thank you very much Patty for the report, and Pics

The Patti Report
DragonCon08; Atlanta, GA
August 28-September 1, 2008

Part 2:

The photo ops were at 4 PM and I made sure to be there this time, though I was drenched in sweat by the time I did arrive a half hour early, and with StormGustav not far off, the humidity was so high, I never did stop dripping. Sigh. I had worn a “Cats for Peace” shirt (three cats doing the peace sign with their paws, heh) and so I got James to flash the peace sign with me, after which he said ‘It’s about time we got some of that!’ Amen, James! James had changed into a sleeveless tank shirt (the one from London’s Borderline show, if I’m not mistaken); black with over-stitching along the edges, and with a little logo that looks like a’ C9’ on the left.

In the evening was The Event with James and Gareth, from 7-10 PM at Max’s Lager, the same venue as last year’s Cocktail Party. I got there at about 6:45 and was sent upstairs, where the event was held last year. SteveH arrived right at 7 PM, but then it all sort of came to a stall for a bit…our next and biggest SNAFU of the weekend. After waiting about another 15 minutes, we were moved back downstairs in what turned out to be a teeny, tiny, VERY hot courtyard out the side of the place, on the corner of two streets. / SPAN>Turns out, the venue had double-booked the upper room, and we got the shaft, getting shoved outside into a too-small area for 70, with no air conditioning (just a few ineffectual ceiling fans some 20 feet overhead) and absolutely no space, no proper equipment nor even decent enough acoustics for a conversation, much less a concert. We were served dinner with the event, and while the food was pretty good, the service was lousy and sporadic on top of everything else, a sad about-face in a bad way from last year.

SteveH greeted us first, apologizing for the change of space, and pointing out that he knew he’d worn his shirt for a reason that day (It said “Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t” LOL), and said we’d just try to make the best of it. James came up next, welcoming and thanking us. He then asked us to get to know each other. He said he likes that he’s a catalyst for all the friendships that have sprung up because of him, and that if he doesn’t get to spend as mu ch time getting to know us as he’d like, he’d like us to get to know each other for him. It was very sweet. He then left us to eat for a bit—“so we didn’t have to eat in front of James!” SteveH said—very considerate (and, does he know women or what!?! LOL!) James returned shortly when Froggy (the official Con photographer) and Gareth showed up and we were given a surprise gift of a group photo (of each table) with James and Gareth. (I stick out like a sore thumb in ours, I’m such an Amazon. Sigh).

James was wearing a dark button-front shirt with subtle striping in a slightly lighter color…but I never really could see the rest of him in the crowded place, so I assume he wore jeans and running shoes as usual with it. :)

James launched into his concert first, which came as a surprise, but it was kinda fun being ‘serenaded’ as we finished eating. :) However, that biggest issue of the day reared its ugly head prominently at this point--the lack of appropriate space, acoustics and equipment. This lack of proper venue made the concert a virtual impossibility, though James tried very hard to give us his best, I know, even mentioning that he’d practiced for, I think it was, 4 hours that day, all for it to come out like this. James really tried to be as professional about it as he could, but it was a losing battle—like trying to build a skyscraper with Tinker Toys™! He was quite frustrated and discombobulated by the lack of clear performance area and the lack of proper mike and amp, you could see it, but tried very hard to control his irritation (only giving in to it once with a mighty “F*&K!” when he realized he’d started singing the same song a second time) and kept on trying to give us the show we’d paid for, trouper that he is. James was forced to stand in about a foot of space using a singer’s mike type of set-up (straight up stand with no arm to leave room for the guitar), and just a tiny speaker to plug the mike into—no amp or monitor at all. Trying to play the guitar and lean in far enough to be heard over the crappy mike without banging the guitar into it was a real challenge and I really felt sorry for those on the fringes of the area, because it had to be hard to hear. With no amp, his set list was suddenly all wrong for the venue, so he had to try to pick non-amp songs out of the list. And with no amp, and with the shape of the courtyard—essentially a big L, with half the people ‘way over there’ near the street and far away from where James had to perform at the back of the courtyard—the guitar was virtually inaudible (except the wall-generated bounce-back to James, which further played with his head). His playing was barely audible even from where I sat, which was at one of the closer tables--I was perhaps 15 feet from him and could barely hear it. He kept joking about it, though -- “Can you guys hear me at all back there? No? I’m a really, really great guitarist, really. Eric Clapton comes to me for advice.” ROTFL!!!

James first introduced us to his new guitar, saying he no longer takes Malcolm along because that’s his favorite and he fears it being permanently destroyed (it’s already been damaged a time or two). Crystal was his traveling guitar, but it got broken in Mexico, so he left it sitting in his hotel room when he left and bought the new one, which he named Pancho, if I recall correctly.

James did some nine songs total, including a new song, which he had two titles for (one was “On the Moon”, which seemed the more appropriate title for it, but I have no recollection of the other title he gave, something about Being Buzz Aldrin or some such thing). He wrote it during his stint in Lithuania doing Moon Shot but it’s actually about his relationship with his girlfriend, and was very…interesting. And telling. I would love to see the lyrics—people I talked to all heard different things, but given the state of the sound system (and my hearing), I don’t trust what I *think* I heard to pass it along. Maybe we can talk James into posting the lyrics…

James did the following songs (as I recall, I hope I didn’t forget any, and I’m not sure if this is the right order, sorry!)

This Town (which he said he was doing because GhostGirl asked for it)
On the Moon (new)
Looking at You
Don’t Worry Son
London City
(Button-Down) Vandals
Birth of the Blues

He sounded good vocally, after he got a bit more acclimated to the space, and when he wasn’t thrown by the crappy conditions—constant feedback whenever he moved even a few inches to either side of the mike, for example--or his own gaffes. And yes, James messed up several times, starting to play a song he’d already done (because he had so few he could play on his list), forgetting another song entirely (because it sounded too much like another one, he said, lamenting that that’s sometimes a problem when you write your own songs) and even messing up the words to “Smile”… The biggest problem was, I believe, the lack of non-amp songs available and he kept losing his place on the set list trying to find songs he *could* do.

While it may sound like it was very unprofessional to someone-not-there reading about it, it was actually rather the more special, because it was even better that way—imperfect--given the space we were in. It probably would have been not-so-good if it had been a concert hall, but it worked for the situation, somehow. It was like being at a jam session, or sitting around with friends on your patio and just goofing around, or something—like an impromptu party feels. Like I said earlier, hard to describe if you weren’t there how delightfully intimate and enjoyable it was. James’ commentary between songs was hilarious, too—very self-deprecating and irony-infused.

Apparently James and Gareth had rehearsed some songs too (James said something about The Doors and Green Day, if I recall correctly), but as James did his last song, a string broke; b etween that (and not wanting to waste our paid time to change it, I presume) and the lack of a more conducive area, they decided to just not do it, rather than do it crappily, a cappella, in front of everyone—James was too unnerved already to extend himself that far, I think, and didn’t want to do it just to be doing it and have it be really embarrassingly bad.

Which left them more time to spend with us at tables. Worked for me! Sadly, the bad acoustics in the place made it difficult to hear everything, even sitting at the table together. Each grouping was 3 (4? I can’t remember exactly) small square tables stuck together end to end, the cheap sports-bar types, with 10 cheap plastic lawn chairs to sit in at each (and some were higher tables with bar stools; very makeshift, stupid restaurant!); although, for some reason, each table seemed to have to find space for at least one more person, so that we had twelve at ours. We were packed in like sardines, and had to get out of our seats in a shift/wave-like series of motions.

So, the rest of the evening was spent in conversations at table with the guys, and amongst ourselves when they were elsewhere. They sat with us for about 15 minutes each and just talked about whatever people wanted to at the table, judging by what went on at ours, and from what I’ve heard from other tables. Even SteveH made the rounds of tables between the guys’ visits. Steve gave James a glass of wine at the first table, which James nursed the entire evening, as far as I could tell. We were the second table to have James and last to have Gareth.

Steve was the first to visit us, actually. He generally chatted for a bit, then turned to me and asked me how my filmmaking was going. I nearly goggled from the surprise that he would ask! I told him I was working on a film about my work as a pilot escorting oversized loads. He gave me the patented SteveLook a moment (for those of you who have never met Steve, he has this funny poker face when he makes some comment, usually funny, and then always follows it up with this tiny smirk), then said, “Sooo, if I get you right, you run an escort service?” which made everyone laugh (and made me think “Hey you stole my line!”) When I grinned and said, “why yes, I do run an escort service” he said, “OK, I just wanted to make sure for when I’m writing in my blog. *mimics typing* ‘Patti runs an escort service.’” ROTFLMAO!!!!

At another point during the evening, I took a moment to show SteveH an email I’d been sent by my friend, JC. (man, I love my new internet-and-email-capable phone!!!) There was a small blurb on a Canadian TV news show that mentioned the upcoming trailer for DragonBall that is to be shown with Max Payne when it comes out. The one-liner was basically it, but added the movie would be “starring James Marsters and Chow Yun-Fat”! Top billing! SteveH said that, yes, really, James is the star of the movie. WHOOO *AND* HOOO!!! I also had to tease Steve about his buzz-cut… heh.

When our turn came for James to sit with us, I was lucky enough to be sitting across and over one from James, and I read lips pretty well, so I caught most of what was said, fortunately. As James sat down, he said he was happy to be rescued from a discussion about particle physics and helium3. LOL! (and, sorry, table 1)!

And here we go… Yes, it was me. *I* placed the glass of JD in front of James. Why? Several reasons: In case he wanted it over the wine, though I originally got it before Steve served him the wine to give him a choice to drink if he wanted to, as I don’t have any imagined-problems-delusions about James, and I didn’t want him to think all his fans did, either. Also, to just quietly show my support for his side of things’. It was actually meant to be a shot for a toast (I’ll get to that), but the waiter didn’t seemed to get that. I didn’t know he liked wine, and it was too late to order another for him by the time he got to our table.

When I put the glass down in front of him, James said, “Oh no, I can’t! Steve would kill me!” **(A/N: There is a rant that goes here, but I decided to remove it). I told James that it was fine, he didn’t have to drink it, I just wanted him to have something to drink, and would he mind if we raised a toast to a friend of mine who had died the night before; that the wine would be perfectly acceptable to kick off my Irish wake for my Irish friend whom I’d met through another fandom many, many years ago. He expressed his condolences, asked her name, and then led the toast to her. :) Then James said, “Do you know that there are people on the internet who are trying to subvert me, trying to control me? Who are trying to ruin my name?” I immediately said, yes and that I’d quit that group in protest then started a live journal where I told them off. He gave me a big grin, clicking glasses with me again, and said “Yeah! F*&k them!” He asked us if we remembered The Rift, saying he didn’t remember it virtually at all, because it came in the middle of a year and a half of non-stop work and he was so wiped out from the long, grueling schedule and then getting sick, that it was really a vague blur. (Remember, he had been injured several times by the time The Rift rolled around, and he mentioned running a fever of 102 the whole time he was in Mexico doing DragonBall…not to mention all the scary stunt work not in his purview!)

I’m not sure how it segued from that toast to James’ uncle and Happy Meals’ dad both having worked on the Hubbell Space Telescope project, but it was very interesting and poignant, and we toasted HM’s dad, as well. I asked him what he’d been doing in the month off he’d mentioned to me at the autograph line, and he again mentioned he’d come off a grueling schedule of a year and a half with no time off, so when he got home, he said hi to his niece, then “it’s great to see you, I’m going to go take a nap right now but I’ll be there for dinner.” And then passed out for 4 days straight. He said “you know how you sleep on your hand wrong… *demos his hand all scrunched up and pressed to his cheek* …and it wakes you up when it goes numb? I never woke up. I slept on it like that for 4 days. I couldn’t move it for an entire day when I finally woke up!” Yikes! Now that’s exhaustion!!

I didn’t hear the next question, but I assume it was about his birthday or something similar, as he was suddenly saying something like, Yes, I feel like I’m finally just waking up (to life or to awareness or something like that) “…now that… *looks down at his lap* …isn’t in charge anymore. Now it’s just… *raises hand* …’when you have the time’.” ROTFL!! (I guess his hormones have moved from the driver’s seat to ‘shotgun’!) He also said he regretted his dating habits of the past because he used to date a lot of different people, but never exclusively, and now that he’s more in charge of his hormones, he can’t go back and call his old girlfriends because “…they all hate me now. But I never lied to them, I made sure they knew they weren’t exclusive, but I hurt them anyway.” (I tried to tell them that if he was honest with them, then they only hurt themselves by not believing him, but I don’t think he heard me. He always takes all the blame on himself! Sheesh). We talked about male-female relationships and what each looks for in partners and the like. Eventually I said I’d found that men and women want the same things, but they don’t express what they want the same way and then they don’t get that they’re really looking for the same thing because of the miscommunications, to which James said, “YES! Exactly!” Very funny and interesting discussion!

In the same vein, he also said that he’d found it interesting in Lithuania in that the relationships between men and women are very strained, lots of problems. He found at first that the men were really friendly and pleasant to be around, and the women were very cold and distant, but after he’d been there a couple of weeks, he started noticing that the men were mean and abusive to the women and he didn’t really like them anymore, BUT the women, upon discovering he treated them respectfully and like human beings, turned out to be warm and sweet and they LOVED him! That’s our James, wowing women the world ‘round!

We talked about a few other things, including Jimi Hendrix… (Don’t ask. I have no clue how that one came up). :) We talked a bit about his stint on Moon Shot…OK, actually mostly he just mentioned that when he did some Zero-G work (I think it was) he threw up in his helmet and it backsplashed into his face. Can we say EW!!!! Such a guy thing to say! Glad I’d already eaten, James! LOL! Oh, and he also retold the story about Buzz Aldrin punching out a much younger, much bigger guy harassing him and accusing Buzz of lying about being on the moon, then said he was worried, because after playing Buzz, when Buzz sees the movie, he’s liable to come and punch James out! LOL!

That’s pretty much all I remember, except as he got up to leave, he looked at me and said “Love you.” I swear. I don’t know if he meant the whole table but he was looking directly into my eyes, so, hey, mine! And yeah, my heart did little flip-flops! I said, “Love you too,” and he smiled, then he was off to the next table. /SPAN>SIGH!

Gareth, I can’t tell you much. He actually sat next to me, on my ‘good ear’ side, even, but as he was turned to the other half of the table most of the time, and with his Welsh accent, I couldn’t hear a word he said most of the time, and understood maybe half of what I did hear! Sigh. I did ask him if he’d liked Comic Con (the huge media con in San Diego in July. He was a guest there), but he said it was too crazy-busy for him. (It is that, with it’s 125, 000 attendees!) Oh and I asked him if he wasn’t too hot with the knit hat he was wearing, but he just said, “Not anymore.” That was pretty much all I heard, though whether it was here or later, we did find out that Gareth is going to living in L.A. working for some time. Good news for James and Gareth’s friendship, I would imagine, and hey, nice to know for this SoCal gal! :)

After the last table, SteveH made James come forward once more, and then said we were all going to sing happy birthday to him, which James seemed rather embarrassed about, but let us do anyway. He then decided he might as well go to the middle of the room, where he got on a chair and looked alternately pained and happy, and peppered SteveH with comments about how he would get back at him for this! LOL!!! And with a big thank you and a last wave, James was gone.

As amazingly horrible and unprofessional and convoluted and not-good as this all sounds, it was one of the most delightful evenings in my memory of delightful evenings with James. Like I said earlier, hard to describe if you weren’t there how delightfully intimate and enjoyable it was. He was warm and charming, chatty and funny -- impromptu, moment-to-moment-James -- and the time spent talking at table was indescribable in its enjoyableness. (My Dutch mother has an untranslatable (for her, anyway) word, gezelleg, which sort of combines all those ‘warm, cozy intimate settings/people’ concepts and more, and which totally describes my feelings for the night. Anyone Dutch out there know what I mean?) :)

Was the evening expensive? Yes. Was it worth the money? From this=2 0FanGirl’s POV, absolutely, every penny! It isn’t about the presumed market value of the event—you pay for the event, however it turns out. I’m not planning to ask Sotheby’s or Christy’s how much they think it was worth. It’s as much about the attitude going in—expectations—as it is how the event moves you as it’s happening. I never have any expectations really, just the joy and excitement of seeing James is enough for me. It’s why I go. A girl’s gotta have a hobby! Heh. Life happens, I roll with it. :)

And, as for being moved, this event brought to me a small space of peace on what was a very sad day for me, and the sweet pleasure of feeling I’d come away just a little better acquainted with James, as I think it did for all those I talked to afterwards--I don’t think anyone who was the re was disappointed in the least! (And for me, personally, being in such convivial company helped immensely--thanks to all my table-mates and JamesGang friends for being there for me, even though I disappeared a lot, and thank you to SteveH and James for being so kind. I’d almost decided to not even go, because I couldn’t stop crying at odd, unpredictable moments and didn’t want to bring that, but couldn’t control it either. Then a voice in my head I know to be my late friend’s told me to go, ‘fer cryin’ out loud, ya dummy’, and toast to her Irish ass…and I’m glad I did.)

Sunday was another 11:30 AM panel, this time for Smallville, featuring James with the now quite hair-ful Michael “Lex Luthor” Rosenbaum. Michael looks very different with hair, younger and definitely more hot. ;) The 2-day-shadow beard just added to his appeal. I guess after 7 years of shaving it all, he, if anyone, deserves to let everything grow!

James wore the same shirt he wore to the party the night before, and had on these great, narrow-straight-leg black jeans. MMMMM. :) James was his usual bouncy self, but Michael seemed a bit tired…or perhaps, more like hung over…Michael commented that James had gone to bed at 10 “you bastard.” James: “I was a *good* boy!”. Michael noted how long and hard the D*C people liked to party at night... Michael said he doesn’t even drink then went into an act about drinking everything handed to him the night before...heh. :) For anyone who has never seen Michael (and this weekend was my first time, too) the man is a complete rio t! He should be a stand-up comedian, though that would be a loss of a very good dramatic actor, I suppose. He had James cracking up, but James got his own back, too. These guys had a good rapport, and it was fun watching them.

Smallville Panel: Seven Year Itch

Michael REALLY hates the table mikes and they bantered back and forth a bit while someone got a hand mike for him, Michael saying he had a question, asking James if he’d be returning to Smallville. James said he’d like to, then Michael interrupted, saying he probably isn’t, since they don’t like him for quitting. Heh. James said yeah, he figured he’d be even more needed but…nothing so far. The guy then brought out the mine, and he had a shaven head… Michael: “Good head.” James: You *did* have a good time last night…” ROTFL!

Asked about working with Tom Welling as director, after much teasing, they said how great he was.

A general acting question about acting vs ad libbing. They got to discussing the lack of specific direction about the story lines (“Eventually Lex will be bad…but he isn’t now” was pretty much all Michael has ever gotten!) and how hard it was to know what was motivating the characters: James had asked Michael why Brainiac tricked Lex to Honduras, Michael had said “I’ve no idea man!” Michael added, “But let’s go with this, it obviously happened, you’re here.” Which typified the whole experience of working there, the ‘Smallville Ignorance Factor’, as James called it; no one telling them what was going on, but somehow the lack of a clue working for the show’s final outcome. LOL! James talked about how his stage acting instincts—taking a month to prepare and make choices for his character--have been knocked out of him by Hollywood’s lack of time to prepare that way, and the utter lack of wanting or needing it. Michael agreed that h e often felt he walks through the lines, but then everyone tells him how wonderfully emotional he was.

Asked if they’d do some singing (Michael apparently loves to sing karaoke, heh), Michael said James was the singer, he’d be his Pointer Sister *pointing here and there*. They started goofing around with singing the line “and I’ve got such a long way to go, to get to the border of Mexico”. Michael kept imitating Michael McDonald.

A little kid asked if they liked playing bad guys, James said “oh yeah. Big time.” And Michael said, “Double ‘Oh yeah’.” Actors! LOL! James said “playing bad guys who have no remorse is even more fun, so playing a heartless robot is like a fantasy.” Michael has the opposite, he has played a guy who goes from good to evil and now sees how he got there, which is interesting too.

A fan asked if Michael had to shave his head all that time, and he got all mock-indignant “I’m going to kill you” For 7 years, he had to shave, wax, etc, even when they wound up not using the shot. Dignity, James said, having to have your nipples shaved at 4 am. LOL! After going off for a while about the not-joys of having to be bald all that time, the questioner said she’d asked because she was a cancer survivor and had been bald…at which point Michael, obviously feeling really bad, interrupted her “Now I’m really gonna kill you, come here and give me a hug.” And he did. :) Michael eventually accused James of setting-up Michael (for the punchline of her having had cancer after he’d ranted at her), and James just blithely said, “yup, worked very nicely too.” :D (It’s pretty obvious that Michael really isn’t looking to return to SV even as a guest, since he REALLY doesn’t want to have to shave…anything, again!)

When he returned to stage, he introduced his buddy Chris. Michael teased James about thinking he was on SV because James never watched the show but a few times (He thought he was Sam Jones, LOL!).

Asked if they would be interested in doing comedy. Michael, it’s kind of obvious! James said definitely, he liked that there was humor on Buffy, but he’d love to do comedy, his roots in stage were mostly comedic. Michael said James was actually very funny; while he’s serious while acting, “when he gets off…” More ‘last night’ humor ensued. James went on to say that the experience usually is that if the play is serious, the people in it are the more fun to be around for it—he mentioned doing one about the Holocaust and the cast using humor to relieve the horror of what they were doing. Michael is the jokester on set, gets himself in trouble holding up the shoot for ‘one more joke’.

Asked if Michael played practical jokes on Tom to get back at those Tom plays, he replied “I slept with his wife.” LOL! Then he told some jokes he played on Tom in retaliation. He talked about Tom as director and how others were not as good. If they’re prepared it goes smoothly, but they both hate the directors who are not, or who are disorganized, and they wind up just grabbing whatever they get at the end of a 15-hour day, leaving the actors unhappy with their ‘one shot at it’ performances.

Asked whether he’s more passionate about music or acting, James says music is more personal and therefore scarier. Some acting projects are more interesting than others, but singing in front of a live audience is ver y scary and he enjoys that.

Michael was asked about Lex’s motivations. They were asked about their views on the current state of television, strikes and Reality TV incursion. They went off about Reality TV, but basically they have had to roll with the changes. James mentioned a script Michael had written about his crazy childhood, Michael added “my wacky mom” and James said, “I had one of those too.” Michael: “You had a wacky mom, too?” James: “Oh yeah.”

They were asked about working with John Schneider. Michael talked about parking his car at JS’s house and going out in JS’s General Lee (the Dukes of Hazard car), and other stories. James only filmed with him once, didn’t get to know him well. “Great hair. Nice smile.”

Asked if they watch their own work, and if so, did they ever wonder “what the hell was I thinking?” when they saw it. They said as an actor you really should watch what you do, and then went on about reactions to seeing themselves. James repeated his P.S. I Love You and resultant DragonBall lessons. He’d rather get fir ed than not speak up, now. You can learn a lot by watching yourself. Michael learned by watching Steve Martin on a set, watching his takes right after they were done.

Asked if they had heard any interesting ideas lately, James went off on an interesting idea he had about combining solar and hydrogen power collection to save energy and increase output. (James Marsters for President!!! Heh).

A fan told Michael he *is* cuter with hair, making the audience “Aw” and he said thank you, it’s great to have somet hing to grab onto in frustration. Did he want to do something similar or different than Sci-fi fantasy. He said he just wanted to be challenged, as he’s done all he can with Lex. James said most actors like to have a variety of things to do, and though he loves Science Fiction-fantasy, he also likes to do naturalistic things. He talked about court jesters in old days, and how only they could speak out politically, and that’s how Sci-Fi is…you can speak out politically and then…*shrug* ’it’s just Superman...’ which is what he likes about working in the genre.

Another question about Michael leaving the show, and their experience filming it. Michael talked again about the lack of coherent direction or knowing what was happening with character development for the whole seven years. He admits the difficulty of having every episode be great over s even years, but sometimes... James said at least Lex was more meaty, like a movie within the middle of the lighter stuff. James talked about Michael trying all season to figure out what Brainiac is doing, why the injection thing, etc, and finally at the very end of the season, the last shot, he finally finds out about Zod. They just had to commit to it and sell it, whatever it turned out to be.

At this point a fan finally asked James “What’s up with your ear?” ROTFL! That’s how much he was playing with it, as I mentioned earlier! Amid much laughing he said, I like my ear! It’s not very hard and it’s bendy…” and he can play with it. More joking and laughter. Michael finally asked if his water was filtered *looks at it suspiciously*, which set James off on how Spielberg did the r ipples on Jurassic Park…with lots of pounding of table between them.

The next question turned out to be the last:: How would you each survive a zombie apocalypse? They went off joking about the question itself, and why would you want to survive, because, hey. zombie apocalypse.

Th…th…th…that’s all folks!


Sunday was the big photo ops day for me. I usually only get one a day--many people get 4 each day, and there are some who get even more. (I once saw someone get 12 then go back for 7 more! At $60, then $70 a pop, repsectively!) But I *so* cannot afford that! Not to mention, I have a hard enough time making myself get one picture taken--I loathe pix of me--but the time with James, however fleeting, is always worth it, and the photo becomes a memory of that moment. I had one of James and I alone, one with my Yahoo group of friends (Hi JMFGang!) and James, a nd one of me with James and Gareth. When it was my turn, James first shook my hand, but then let me give him a hug. I told James I really wanted it taken with him behind me with his arms around me, but I was too tall (I’m just barely under 6 feet too-tall and always wanted to be about 2 inches shorter…but, hey…maybe *I* can get a show-biz career going and earn enough to send my kid to Harvard?!” *grin*). He said, “no, listen, just squat down a little…” so I tried to do that without sticking my butt out too much. LOL! Then he got behind me…and strangled me. Seriously, that’s what the picture looks like. Sigh. As I was leaving he said “I even got on my tippy toes for you” (tippy toes. Heh.) Again, sigh…that he had to. `:/

Next we got the group shot and that went fine, with me again hiding in the back peeking over James’ shoulder, happily barely visible -- no more of the GodzillaPatti all towering over everyone! :) The last one, with Gareth, I already knew what I wanted. James gets the posing thing really quickly—Mr. Experience! But I kinda had to work a little harder with Gareth before he got it. I’m sure with a few more thousand pictures, he’ll get the hang of it. LOL! I did this thing with them with their backs turned to me and arms folded, with me in the middle with my arms akimbo trying to look like the clever one, though I think it turned out more like a “decisions, decisions, all the yummy goodness and not enough time” smirk. :) Gareth did get the idea eventually, because he looks pissed off, while James looks like he’s got a juicy20secret that’s making him feel smug (and totally edible, YUM!) The picture is my new favorite! Heh.

Unfortunately the photo printer broke down and we were unable to get the group shot back, nor any of the Monday shots, so I have no clue what they look like yet. Sigh. Just another in the long succession of ‘things that went ‘er-splat’ all weekend.

At autographs, I got both James and Gareth to sign the photo from the party the night before. Oh, and I got SteveH to sign his back--he’s in the shot but looking away, so only his back is showing. He made sure to let me know (SteveLook firmly in place) that he magnanimously does not charge for his signature. LOL! I wanted him to sign ON the back where he was ‘looking’, but he didn’t hear what I’d said until too late; then he agreed it would have been funnier, but oh well. :)

Monday was wind-down day. The hotels start emptying out rather quickly, and in what seems like no time at all, it’s like a ghost town at the con. Guests who are scheduled for this day often don’t wind up showing up, I’ve found—Michael Rosenbaum didn’t make the panel with Phil Morris for example--and many of the Walk of Fame booths were already abandoned.

James was only scheduled to do autographs from 10 to 11:30, then a final photo op, and be gone by Noon. I’d meant to get there close to 10 so I could just hang out in the room while he was still there, take photos and whatnot, but I overslept, and got ready in a panic that I’d again miss him again, like Friday’s photo op. When I got to the room, there was a line and they’d posted that James would be in at 11 (hey, I think the man is entitled to sleep in once in a while, too!), so I was happy I’d not missed him when I got there at about 15 minutes before 11. He finally arrived a bit after 11, and signed autographs as quickly as possible without rushing anyone, but he was not done with the line before he had to leave for photos at 11:30, so he promised to return and finish those already in line and he did.

I got an autograph on my “Small Favor” audio book cover, which Jim Butcher had already signed. I told James that Jim had said that he’d sign in a corner so that if I “bumped into James at the 7-11”, he’d have room to sign. (heh!) James laughed and said “I wish he’d say something to Juliet, she always signs in the middle and I can’t…” then did this little act of frustratingly trying to find space to sign. LOL! I took my leave saying I’d see him in a few at photos, started in that direction, then realized I’d forgotten to give him a card I had, so had to go back and I just dropped it in front of him between signees.

I then went over for my last photo op, which I just had us ‘snuggle’ for. James was wearing a slightly different sleeveless tank shirt, grey with black binding around the neck, and his regular blue jeans….and his usual running shoes. :) It was all over too fast, and it was all over for real, as well--James spent about another 10 minutes finishing up the autographs and then *poof* he was gone.

I ambled rather aimlessly around the con’s exhibit halls and art show for one more go-through, but once James was gone, the appeal and my interest kind of left with him. I eventually wandered up to my room one last time to pack for home and bid my 1023 roomies farewell.

I did do other things at the con--even went to a corset-making seminar one day. I wanted to go to more, but just never had the chance what with one thing and another. But, cons are like that—too much to see and do in too-little time. I usually don’t do costumes, preferring my collection of interesting and silly t-shirts (I got 3 new ones!) to make my statements for me (James finally noticed this time and laughed at my “I do all my own nude scenes” shirt, heh!). But DragonCon is really big on costumes--I’m thinking of going ‘Steam Punk’ next year…

Wait, did I just say next year? ACK!!!!!!

Patti :)