Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gallifrey 2009 Guest Update

I guess the convention gods were reading this blog when I whinged and moaned about how the Chicago TARDIS schedule didn't allow me to see more of Colin Baker. The following is the guest announcement made by the fine people that run Gallifrey a few days ago. I sense a good friend of mine will be staying up late at night trying to figure out what to get autographed. ;)

Gallifrey Conventions is delighted to make a major announcement about two new guests for our 2009 convention:

We are extremely pleased to welcome back the Sixth Doctor, COLIN BAKER. Colin is a special sponsored guest being brought over by Alien Entertainment, a major dealer of Doctor Who memorabilia, as well as the sponsors of our annual sister convention ChicagoTARDIS and the official North American distributor of Big Finish Productions audios. Colin Baker, who played the Doctor from 1984-1986, has been with us several times in the past, and is being sponsored by Alien Entertainment for a trip to Los Angeles to help promote the Big Finish audio series. As such, he'll be signing in the dealers room at the Alien Entertainment table. However, Colin *will* be participating in the rest of the Gallifrey 2009 convention... including a panel that reunites him with his co-star Nicola Bryant (Peri) for the first time at a US convention in many years.

Meanwhile, it is our pleasure to welcome for his first North American convention actor KAI OWEN, in a visit sponsored by Tenth Planet Events. Kai is familiar to current audiences from his role as Rhys Williams, the husband of Gwen Cooper on Torchwood, who is a recurring regular on the series and whose role was expanded
during the second season. Kai Owen has also appeared on stage and in such productions as "Casualty" and "Rocket Man" as well as productions for Welsh television. Tenth Planet Events, who are long-time
dealers in the Gallifrey One dealers room, will be hosting the actor for autographs at their table; Owen will also appear on stage on several panels, including together with actor Gareth David Lloyd (Ianto).

Additionally, some very good news: GARY RUSSELL will be at Gallifrey 2009 after all! The long-time writer/producer and friend of Gallifrey One had to cancel out due to his responsibilities on Doctor Who's 2009 schedule, but has been able to make some time to get to Los Angeles after all. And STEVE ROBERTS

of the Doctor Who Restoration Team will be joining us for panels, including a look at the current and forthcoming slate of BBC Doctor Who DVDs for 2009.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chicago TARDIS 2008 - Day Six

Monday finds me praying for the sweet release of death.

Normally I do not get hangovers when I drink. Apparently my body decided the day I was to start my drive back to Houston would be a good time to have one. Oddly enough my body likes to do that. The last major hangover I had came after a night of drinking in New Orleans at a Squeeze show where I lost count after screwdriver number six in an attempt to keep up with the locals and the British fans. Many early morning hours were spent wrapped around the Porcelain God but I had to a get back on the road to head to Austin to see the band again. Insert a bit of my vision going just as I got off the causeway, not making it to the Waffle House in time and therefore hanging my head out of my car window to throw up along with a two hour nap in an Exxon parking lot and that would sum up my return trip in that instance.

You remember that scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off where Cameron is in his bedroom and Ferris is trying to convince him to skip school? The part where he's laying there in the dark, singing "When Cameron was in Egypt's land"? That was me Monday morning. Except without the singing because that would've hurt too much. As it was I had to beg John and Dan to stop making me laugh because that was putting me perilously close to puking my guts out. Unlike my New Orleans trip solids did not pass through my lips in the wrong direction, but it took me a long time to become functional.

John and Dan left for the airport around ten and I just hung around the lobby trying to regain my faculties. I was almost gifted a bunch of booze but that hand off never happened. I also got invited to dinner which I had to naturally turn down.

I finally headed out around eleven, wishing old and new friends safe flights. It had snowed most of the night so while the roads were relatively clear it was still slow going. Things were not helped by the public works department deciding they didn't need to clean the road signs. This means I went the wrong way on the turnpike and spent a good thirty minutes trying to go the right way. All I'll really say about the trip back is that I'll never drive through Oklahoma again. That nearly broke me and I ended up sleeping a few hours in a gas station parking lot to get my head back on straight. I eventually made it back into Houston around three in the afternoon on Tuesday.

Much love has to be given to my roommates, John and Dan. I don't think the convention would've been half as fun if they hadn't made it out. Fine me on Facebook and see how much fun we all had in visual form.

India Fisher pwned me in ways I hadn't been pwned since I saw a photo of Miles Richardson with a midget. We were in stitches every time she spoke during a panel. Her continual egging/friendly griping at Jason for not using her for the BBC7 McGann audios was priceless. I hope Colin is successful in his pursuit to keep Charley as his companion. I'm so glad I got the chance to see her. Lord knows if she'll ever make it back for another convention, I can only hope so.

Speaking of convention returns would it surprise anyone if I said I really hope Lisa Bowerman shows up at Gallifrey 20? It's fun to be able to talk with someone who's worked both sides of the audio studio for Big Finish. The rest of the gang from the Key 2 Time series will be there so in my sad little world it makes sense for her to be there as well. I'm a sad unofficial Benny pimp that way, but that's why you guys love me.

The Magical Bucket of Booze will return at Gallifrey 20 in LA. You won't be able to miss us so do come by and say "hi" if you happen to be there.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Quick Cross Plug

I've decided it's high time that I chronicle my adventures in fandom and booze. If you think you'd be even remotely interested in reading me voice my opinions on things besides Big Finish audios I encourage you to join me.

Drink + Geek

Must give props to my friends James who helped nail down that blog title for me.

No Livejournal mirror site, but I do have the Facebook Blog Network deal.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Brain Just Exploded With Pleasure

If you were at Chicago TARDIS you might remember that in the Big Finish panels there was talk of a special Paul McGann 8th Doctor release. No info, just promise of a release within the regular Doctor Who line with McGann.

If you read Matthew Cochrane's nifty blog (handy dandy link on your right) you'll remember he mentioned he was getting ready to work on this release. Again, no info outside of something nifty keen is happening with McGann.

If you've gotten your hands on DWM issue #403 you'll see that they've released what's involved with the release. If you haven't and you'd like to remain spoiler free turn back now.

Seriously, avert your eyes because blogger doesn't have the spiffy cut option that Livejournal does. Or if it does I'm not smart enough to discover and use it.

Don't say I didn't warn you.






The McGann release is currently titled The Company of Friends and will have four stories, each with a different companion. My brain has just exploded with pleasure because one of the stories will be a Lance Parkin tale involving Benny! I cannot be the only one all a flutter over the possibilities of Paul McGann and Lisa Bowerman in an audio together. Can I?

All fluttering aside it's great to see Big Finish give Benny another shot in the main range of Who audios. I had thought we'd seen the last of her in that capacity after the atrocity that was The Dark Flame nearly a hundred releases ago.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Chicago TARDIS 2008 - Day Five

Sunday finds me waking up to find there's a huge bruise on my outside right thigh and a pretty ugly gash on the inside of my right ankle. I have no clue how either of those things happened as the Scrabble game never got physical and Saturday night was probably the most sober I'd been the entire convention. Sidenote to Scrabble game: nothing like finishing a game and then having Rob Shearman critique your board to make you feel inadequate. ;)

I continued the usual routine of going downstairs to the lobby to check my email and the weather. Snow was in the forecast as in the early morning the projection was just for 2 -4 inches. By late morning it was starting to snow, but not stick to the ground. Not having seen proper snow in 14 years I had to go outside and catch some on my tongue. At that point though people were saying the forecast was now for close to a foot of snow. This was not cool since I had driven up there and would naturally have to drive back. I had about an hour long freakout as I tried to decide whether to leave right then to beat the weather or take my chances. One drive later to gas up the car and do some other things calmed me down enough to decide to stay.

Based on issues with the schedule Sunday quickly became dubbed "Colin Baker Day". I really wish the schedule hadn't had so many conflicts so I could've seen more than one Q&A session. His sessions were slightly different in that he was on stage by himself and you could walk up to a microphone in the center of the aisle to ask your question. When you got up there he'd ask you your name and then get everyone to say "hi" to you. His sunday session was a lot of fun and helped solidify my newfound love for him thanks to Big Finish. Probably the funniest/saddest question was a woman who went "Are you still acting?" He handled it way better than I. My response would've been, "Go to the dealer's room and find the table with a ton of CD's. There will be plenty with my face circa 1984 on it. Go buy some, listen to them, and then come back with a better question." This is why I'll probably never be allowed to speak at a convention.

But I still go to the zoo with people so it's all good.

After that I quick ran to the dealer's room to get Kate Orman's autograph on some items. I had missed out on her autograph the day before due to the line being so long and her having a panel to be on at 5pm. I had caught her earlier and asked if she'd stick around a bit after Sunday's signing explaining I was going to see Colin. She graciously agreed and then I think I won long time/creepy Kate Orman fan award by producing one of the items I had for her to sign, a Data fanzine from 1994 that had two pages worth of drabbles by her and some really horrible drawings by someone else. The response I got were wide eyes and a very surpries "Fuck off!" said in a good way when I brought out the 'zine.

With that I had an hour to kill before it was time to queue for Colin's autograph. That line wasn't too bad and I watched as the woman in front of me thanked Colin for staying well past quitting time years ago at some convention to sign autographs. Apparently the organizers were going to cap the line but when Colin heard about what was about to happen he told them to bugger off and signed for everyone that wanted one. Colin thanked her and said that it wasn't right to make people queue up and then not let them get what they had queued up for. My turn and I gave him a DVD cover to sign to Tim. To this he said that if I had come yesterday I could've gotten something that he mistakenly addressed to a Tim but that they had found someone named Tim to give to. I thanked him but pointed out that my Tim might've been a tad confused when I came back with some random item with his name and not the DVD cover I was given.

I had Colin sign my Big Finish book and mentioned how I was of the many converted to his Doctor thanks to his work with Big Finish and how they'd done a great job in rehabbing his Doctor. As I walked off I wished him a safe flight and he did the same to me. I couldn't help myself and pointed out that I had actually driven. He and his handler asked where I drove from and rather matter of factly said, "only Houston". Then we talked for a few minutes about that which ended with him wishing me a safe drive. A very nice moment for me.

This pretty much concluded the convention proper portion of the weekend for me. John and I were starving and had no parties to hit so we walked to the mall where I managed to miss the Chicago hot dog stand and get Taco Bell instead. On the way out I spotted a store that sold nothing but bar stuff like pint glasses, beer taps and neon signs. Naturally I had to go inside. I grabbed a Molson Twin Label pint glass with the Molson logo on one side and the label Can I Buy You A Lager on the other. I was eyeing a Phillies glass when I heard a voice similar to Jeri's from Strangers With Candy saying, "That's the thing with boob jobs. They're trying to make everything perfect." The voice went on to say, "Take a look at my breasts." I was afraid she was going to say something about them being fake to which I would've had to interrupt the conversation and tell her to get her money back. To the relief of my imagination which was still working out hilarious scenarios involving That Which Broke My Mind (tm) Friday night she then said "They're not symmetrical." It was on this note that it was decided that it was time to leave the store.

I briefly found myself in the lobby by my lonesome with the Magical Bucket of Booze. Jon Blum is writing an article on Who fandom and was interviewing New Who fans all weekend. I caught the tail end of one of the interviews. I won't spoil it, but the young man being interviewed had a very adult and deep reason for what he gets out of the show which made me feel slightly inadequate.

Those feelings disappeared though with the final night with the Magical Bucket of Booze. At one point I was holding court with Simon, Lisa, Jason Haigh-Ellery, and Laura Doddington. The Magical Bucket helped Laura not break a New Year's resolution and she was impressed that the Magical Bucket of Booze was also recyclable. Lisa and Simon were singing the praises of myself and the entire Time Team to Jason which left me dead chuffed. I preached to the choir (Laura) regarding Lisa's skills as a director and threw out there that she should come back to Gallifrey since the other Key 2 Time folks will be back there. Then I could do another Gallifreyan Edition of the Time Team for the first Key 2 Time story.

The snow had kept falling all day and eventually once the sun had gone down the snow actually started to stick. I tried to get Rob to make snow angels. One Culture Club song later I think I had convincer him I had no evil intentions of just pushing him in the snow. But alas there were no angels to be made at that point. That came later when I convinced Jarrod to make some with me. There are photos somewhere of said angels being made. That was fun but clearly I wasn't drunk enough as I could feel how cold and wet my backside had become.

Simon handed out an anniversary edition of his fanzine "Concrete Elephant" that might have the best synopsis of Romeo and Juliet I've ever seen. The back of the 'zine encourages people to make their own and pass them out at Gallifrey.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Chicago TARDIS 2008 - Day Four

As you may remember, Friday night ended with me piss drunk and paper cutting my good eye with the program schedule. I woke up Saturday with my vision a little blurry, naturally. It wasn't so massive that I ended up asking the hotel to take me to the hospital, but the edges of things were blurry enough that I was a little freaked. For those of you that don't know my bad eye is a pretty useless. I could walk around with a patch on it and have just about the same amount of vision at my disposal. At this point I've been told that technology would allow me to get contacts but that I'd probably still want to wear glasses to protect the good eye.

I made my way downstairs and tried to read the Wall Street Journal, hoping that things would clear up as I became a tad more active. Not at the outset so after an hour or so I went back to bed, resolved to trudge over to Target as soon as it opened. Took a nap, bascially, and then woke up right around opening time for Target. Slipping my Docs and a sweater on I trudged over there, got the eye drops, and made my way back to the room. The vision was clearing up a tad so I was a little less freaked, but the next day and a half I was doing the eye drops every four hours.

Once I got past the eye crisis I eventually made my way to the Writing for Different Media panel with Cornell, Guerrier, Shearman, and Russell. I came in the middle of Guerrier, Russell, and Shearman making fun of Cornell for not using owls in the television version of Human Nature. Much talk about the owls picketing the set since Paul had abandoned them. I'm not sure which image burned deeper into my brain: Paul in the shower with an owl on each shoulder or Rob googling himself to read reviews of his porn work. It was clear though that all four genuinely like one another and I wish someone had videotaped the panel. I couldn't stop laughing.

Next up was the Women of Big Finish panel, with Simon and Jason Haigh-Ellery. Again, tons of fun and just like Friday India Fisher stole the panel. I kind of felt bad to Laura Doddington and Ciara Janson. Since the Key 2 Time series hasn't come out yet it was hard to get them involved in the conversation. But they held their own and this only gave them a taste of what it'll be like for Gallifrey in February. We also got to hear trailers for all three Key 2 Time releases once the sound guys figured out how to play the cd. That actually might've been the funniest part of the panel as everyone on stage was doing a running commentary of the three guys trying to get it to work. At one point I offered to get my laptop and just play it from that.

Eventually I staked my claim in the line for Lis Sladen's autograph. The line was huge and I was part of a group that was waiting in a separate ballroom. An hour and a half later I finally got the stuff I wanted autographed. Lis was lovely, spending a few moments talking to everyone to made their way to her. She got a kick out of my Big Finish coffee table book.

With that knocked out of the way I made my way back to the main ballroom to catch the end of the Big Finish panel. Nothing really new from the panel on Friday, but it was fun to have Nick Briggs join the group. After that panel it was off to the races as I got back in the autograph line for the Big Finish bunch along with Kate Orman and Jon Blum. The line was huge and once again it took over an hour for me to make my way to the table. I said this personally to Nick Briggs later on in the hotel elevator and I'll say it again, it was very nice that they stayed until everyone had gotten through the line. It's obviously the right thing to do, but considering how long each day was for them, the fact that jetlag was still a bit of an issue, and that the women were going to immediately have to go to the other side of the room for an hour long photo session, it would've been understandable if they tried to cut the line off. As it was Kate and some of the other guests had to leave at 5pm because they were scheduled to be on panels. Jon finally connected the Time Team with my face when it was his turn to sign my copy of "Life During Wartime" and noticed the inscriptions. He mentioned having read our session regarding "The Fearmonger", vowing to keep an eye on us, and then not getting back to us. I also surprised him when I busted out my VHS sleeve for "Time Rift". Jon promises that the remastered version should be ready to go in January.

Like Friday night we hit a couple of parties that were happening and snagged some grub. I made my way to the lobby and hung out with some folks. Gary Russell came down and somehow I ended up doing my impersonation of an electronic Frosty the Snowman you might find at your local CVS. Apparently I amused him enough to have him ask me to do it again. It obviously loses something in translation so I'll be more than happy to do it at Gallifrey if requested.

The Magical Bucket of Booze (tm) made its way down to the lobby where I found myself talking smack as I played scrabble with Jarrod. A natural outlet for my heckling tendencies. Rob Shearman found his way to our group and we talked for a few hours. The water wall was doing its job as I started nodding off, only to be woken up to everyone in the group telling me to go to bed.

So that's just what I did.

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