May 2, 2008

Oh Canada!

Firstly, I should mention that SOOOO much happened that this post could go on for days.

So in an effort to keep it interesting and short, I'll post the major hilights and some pics but when you see me in person I'll tell you more in-depth stories.
Day 1:
Stayed at George's on Wednesday night so I could catch a ride and carpool with Technogreek, Palindrome, 2.0 and Bogath Thursday morning to the airport.

All went well, and in my usual "Pollyanna" way, I told anybody who'd listen that it was my first time flying to another country and using my first passport, etc. I was excited to say the least.

Here we are on the plane:

and soon after take-off, it was Wii time! Mario Kart-style:

Got to Calgary in the early afternoon, but since we were early there wasn't much to do before the show. So we checked in to our rooms and chillaxed a bit. We hung out in the lobby and met one of the guests, Stephen Silver, and talked with him a while. Technogreek and Bogath had to do a few airport runs so 2.0, Palindrome, Stephen and myself went out to downtown Calgary to see a movie.

On the way to the theater, I tried to locate a hat to keep my bald noggin warm. The temps were just above freezing and I didn't bring one with me. I learned my first Canadian word that day: Tuque. I went into a couple of sporting goods stores and asked for a stocking cap, to which their first response was "You want a what?". After I explained what I wanted (complete with hand gestures) they said, "Oh, you mean a tuque. They're right over here."

Also, while we were on the way to the theater, we met a former Miss Canada who was quite chatty. In fact, I first thought she may have been a prostitute but I kept my mouth shut and didn't ask. She parted ways into a dept. store and we continued on to the theater.

We watched "In Bruges", which I thought was a fine Indie-foreign film. The ending was a bit peculiar, as the screen faded to black right before the credits rolled and we all thought it was part of the cinematographry and made for a unique finish... except that wasn't the case.
The bulb just happened to burn out at that time.

Back at the hotel, we got some of the posters and banners for the show delivered to our room which needed to be mounted. So we did that until late in the evening and that was pretty much our day.

Day 2:
Friday was spent mostly at the covnetion center getting things put up and in the right places.

There was a reason the five of us were brought up to Calgary to help out. While several volunteers showed up that day, it seemed like there were too many bodies without much work getting accomplished.

I helped in registration for a bit, until I was able to pass that duty off to somebody else.

Palindrome and Bogath worked with the crew that was setting up the booth dividers. (Making sure they were spaced properly and in the right places) This seemed to take ALL day, as requests that were made early in the day were still not finished after 4-5 hours later.
So myself and 2.0 took it upon ourselves to "help" them along, and proceeded to do their work for them when they weren't looking. In fact, one thing that needed to be accomplished (install a pole with a curtain against the far wall) took the two of us less than 30 seconds to finish, but we had been waiting for over 4 hours for it to happen.

From there we made adjustments to booths when asked, instead of waiting for the work crew to do it. We would tell whoever requested something, "Go take a walk for about 5 minutes. When you get back, it'll be done but I can't tell you how it happened." So with a nod and a knowing wink, they left while we performed our ninja booth set-up techniques.

This went on for most of the day until we were called to join in the dinner with the guests before the show.

We took off and went to the hotel where we waited for vehicles to arrive and cart everyone off to eat.
I spoke with Greg Rucka, Mark Waid and Bill Willingham. I also re-introduced myself to Jim Mahfood, Josh Middleton and a many others whom I've met before.
It took a while for everyone to get shuttled to the dinner, and near the end I noticed George Takei and his partner Brad coming out of the lounge. I didn't know if they knew about the dinner, so I went to introduce myself as a volunteer and invite them to join us.
I spoke to Brad first, as George was signing an autograph at that time.
All was going well. Brad said they had a pretty stressful day and wanted to be well-rested before the convention, so they were going to stay in their room rather than go to the dinner. About that time, George turned to us and said (in my best Mr. Sulu impersonation) "What is going tonight? What are we missing?"
I lost it right there. My jaw dropped open and all I could say was "I.. uh.. I.. er.....".
After a few seconds of acting like an gibbering idiot, I apologized and George laughed a bit .
They went on to their room and I joined the dinner caravan.

Dinner was at Coco Brooks and was very informal. Just a chance to meet everyone and have a good time before the show started the next day.

There was still much to do at the convention center, so we went there after dinner and continued to work until around midnight.

On our way back to the hotel for the evening I got attacked by a zombie at the convention center.
Coming up... The Calgary Expo

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