Small Realities

Inside the mind of Lance Schonberg

Fan Expo 2009

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Last weekend, Paleoboy and I spent Saturday at Fan Expo 2009.  A lot of cool things and a few disappointments, but we’ve agreed that we want to go again next year.  However, if we do go, it will be for the entire weekend so there’s far less stress over seeing everything we want to see.  With one day only, we skipped over a few things and didn’t really spend as much time in the dealer area as I might have liked to browse, but there was a lot to see even before we got in line to get in.

And the line to get in, Gods.  It could have been worse, I suppose, but by the time we snaked our way through what felt like an entire city block, the Leonard Nimoy Q&A was already packed beyond capacity.  Strike one for me, but he’d be available for autographs later so I figured I’d still get to see him.

Paleoboy got to play games he’s never seen or heard of before, including at least one he won’t be allowed to when it releases.  He seemed to have the most fun with the new Batman game, Arkham Asylum which he’s seen several reviews for on his favourite gamer shows and probably also won’t get to play.  Wait, that’s not true.  He had the most fun kicking my ass in a Halo 3 death match.  I got a little frustrated with the X-Box controls while he adapted to them very quickly.  The plasticity of youth or is it just that I’m a PC gamer and he’s a console gamer.  Give me a keyboard and a mouse and I’ll roast his little butt with any conveniently placed weapon.  But on the X-Box, I bow to Paleoboy’s expertise as well as his nine kills.

But back to gamer shows.  The only celebrities at the Con my son wanted to meet were at the G4TV booth, Victor Lucas and Scott Jones.  We waited for a little over 45 minutes as they slowly worked their way through the fan line, taking a little time to chat and pose with each person come to see them.  Highlight of the Con for Paleoboy.  He’s said several times that it was the highlight of his life so far and intends to frame the autograph and photo.  I enjoyed the taste of Tron: Legacy, conveniently located next to the G4 booth so I got to watch the 2-minute clip a bunch of times while we waited to meet Scott and Victor.  But my son’s reaction to the two Gamer Show hosts was far better.  I have photos and should have taken video.

I’d thought to do a bit of the fanboy thing, too.  Walter Koenig and Leonard Nimoy were both present as well as Billy Dee Williams and Bruce Campbell.  Other SF/Horror movie/TV celebs were there to do signings, but this was the crew on my list.  Never even caught a glimpse of Bruce Campbell, but I wasn’t looking at the right time and autograph cards were sold out before we even got into the Con on Saturday morning.  Then I discovered how much autographs cost.

Okay, maybe I’m naive.  I’ve enjoyed Walter Koenig’s work for my entire life, but I just couldn’t see paying $40 for his signature.  Same with Leonard Nimoy at $60.  I have to believe that it’s Fan Expo trying to keep ticket prices down.  Cheaper to get in = more expensive autographs.  I can respect that, but to stand in line for half an hour or more to get Spock’s autograph?  Can’t do it.  I might go $25 for a photo op, which takes about as long, but it’s too much for ink on a prepared photo.  Sorry.  ‘Entrance level’ autographs at Fan Expo were $30 – Lou Ferrigno, Avery Brooks, “Tom Paris”, the President from BSG, but I couldn’t justify that either.  Out in the hall next to the 501st, you could pay $25 dollars for an autograph by Stormtrooper, “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.”  Cool, but still too much for me.  Does it make me less of a fan?  I don’t think so.  It just makes me a little more responsible with my finances.  I’m not at a point in my life where I can toss money away like that.  I don’t think I ever have been.

Someone’s shouting, “How do  you put a price on a memory?”  You don’t, but the memories I’m keeping from Fan Expo 2009 all involve sharing time with Paleoboy.  Yes, you can gag or say Awwwww if you like, but it’s the way it is and it’s the reason I didn’t make him go to any of the panels I was interested in, but if we do go for the whole weekend next year, that will change because there will be more time.

Another minor disappointment was that he didn’t get to take part in the lightsaber duel training demonstration.  Eighteen and older for some reason, probably the fragility of the lightsabers.  He’d nearly talked me into volunteering, but then they stopped taking volunteers.

We also missed Dave Thomas and Master Chief, the first because of the insane line and the second by not paying attention to the time.  Oh, and Leslie Neilsen cancelled or we would have hung around for him, too.  But we did catch the end of the Star Wars costume parade as we were leaving.  Very impressive.  We’d been seeing Star Wars costumes scattered through the Con all day, but I didn’t realize just how many there really were until they gathered together in one place.  I got a couple of good group shots along with the rest of the crowd.

Did I mention the lines were long?  To get in, to see things, to play games, to see people, to get swag (not enough Swag in Paleoboy’s opinion, but I have to say DC put out a lot, and that’s where we got most of ours), to pay too much for crappy fast foot (note to self: bring more food next time).  But, like any other large gathering, I think Cons may be partly about standing in line.

So this has been a scattered, and longer than usual, post, but it hits all the major points, if not in much detail.  Father son geek out.  Next time we’ll go for longer.

Oh, and my souvenir was this really cool wooden sword I intend to hang on the wall of the room I do most of my writing in.  I’ll post a photo of it tonight along with a couple of other pictures from the Expo, just nothing with Paleoboy in it (remember my last post?).

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