xwacky (xwacky) wrote,

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Tidbits from My Dragon*Con Weekend (I)

I've been back home for almost two weeks now, but the memories of the weekend I spent in Atlanta refuses to leave my mind!  I had an absolute wonderful time at Dragon*Con (Friday, August 31 - Monday, Sept 3.)

I was high from the moment I met  stilettos81 in the airport on Thursday (we shared a hotel room in Atlanta), and still haven't quite managed to come down (to Earth) yet, which is a good thing since I need to somehow capture the memories with words...

By now, there are tons of reports all over the net detailing what happened during the Con.  So I'll start off with the bits and pieces I personally experienced instead.  I'm leaving the panel discussions for later after I get a chance to listen to my audio recordings (or never if the quality is too poor to discern what's been said), which I haven't managed to do due to the avalanche of things needed to be taken care of since I got back.

Thursday, it paid to arrive early.  After checked into our hotel, we had a bit of time to walk around downtown Atlanta before it started to rain.  Due to the rain, we didn't go register until late at night.  Apparently many people waited as well for there was a long line by the time we got there.  To my surprise, I ran into the gorgeous Mick1997 (and her husband) from The Adama Realm there.  It was the first time I met her in person.  I was thrilled, but unfortunately they had to leave and come back the next day...

(See Thursday pictures...)

Friday, things got off the ground (for me) with the panel "Star Trek vs. the New Battlestar Galactica" at 11:30 am.  We arrived an hour early to grab decent seats.  As we waited, I got anxious because  laurie31 hadn't showed up yet.  Fortunately she rushed in with ~5 minutes to spare before the panel started.  I was so excited to see her walking through the door.  I've never met her in person before either.  She called me just before coming and told me what she was wearing, so I picked her out easily from the crowd.  She was every bit as lovely and sweet in person as I imagined her to be!  After a round of hugs and squees, I got an *exclusive* peek at the picture of the now "infamous" cake (more on that later.)

The panel itself was a bit weird for my taste.  Jamie hardly spoke except to make a very eloquent and profound point (which drew a big round of applause even from the panelists themselves.)  He seemed to have little to say on a panel that pits one show against another, especially when these two shows are from different decades.

After the panel, I got to meet BeyondInsane (BI), ClosingTime (CT), and Raemani75 (Rae) from the Skiffy Board.  BI is the bride to be, and the cake was for her.  The other "Bamber Bunnies" planned a Bachelorette party on Sunday, and laurie31 ordered a cake with Jamie's image *printed* on the icing.  Yap, the Bunnies were planning to eat "Jamie!"

I didn't get to see the rest of the Bunnies until they were having lunch.  It was exciting to finally meet SyllverViper (Sylvie), Bamberrific, her husband MrBamberrific, BI's fiancée, and the very tall very beautiful TheNextCylon (TNC) in person.  I told Sylvie when I first saw her that she's famous.  She laughed it off.  But I insisted--after all, she was quoted on the national People magazine last year (the Sexiest Men Alive issue!)

After meeting the Bunnies, we headed back to our hotel room to get my stuff.  Then, we walked to the Walk of Fame in Marriott to get autographs.  When we got there, we ran into laurie31 again.  She informed us Jamie was doing his photo session with fans upstairs, but he would be coming down shortly.  So we decided to get Aaron Douglas's signature first.  As we stood in line, we heard people asking when Jamie would come back.  The guy stood in front of us pointed to the table adjacent to Aaron's and said:  "He's right there!"

We looked, and sure enough--there was Jamie!  It was the first time I saw him up close.  He looked even slighter than I had imagined him to be.  With little hesitation, we switched the lines (Jamie's autograph line formed real fast once people realized he's back), and I went to get laurie31.

Finally, it was my turn.  OMG!  He's even lovelier upon closer *scrutiny*.  He had the good manner of maintaining eye contact with the person he was talking to.  And his eyes are so beautiful they can make a girl jealous!   Anyway, the first thing I wanted him to sign was the desktop picture I downloaded from Skiffy.  It was the one where Lee was wearing the Commander uniform.  I loved Lee's turn as the Commander of Pegasus, extra weight and all, so I had to have Jamie sign a picture for me.  He must've not seen much of that particular shot of Lee before because he took a closer look at it.

After he signed his name, I proceeded to ask him if he would be interested in running the Big Sur International Marathon (bsim) next year.  I read he had run London Marathon some years ago and did extremely well (under 3 hours.)  I wondered if he would be interested in doing another marathon, especially the Big Sur, which is known for its beautiful and challenging course.  I even printed out the info page I got from the bsim.org and told him the online registration was going to start on September 1 (I'm such a dork!)  He smiled back and said after he finished his first marathon, he kinda decided he wouldn't do another race again, but he would think about it.  I don't know what had gotten into me, I pushed further by suggesting if he comes to the area for the marathon, he can also play a round of golf in Monterey, or Pebble Beach!  He replied:  "Playing golf?  Ahh... That's my kind of weekend!"

stilettos81 was next.  She brought Season 2.5 DVD for Jamie to sign.  Jamie took the trouble of taking the paper "jacket" out of the cover box.  At first stilettos81 didn't understand his intention.  She told him he could just sign on the plastic cover (like how RDM signed his signatures for us in the past.)  Jamie replied:  "Trust me, it's better this way..."  That's when we understood he had the presence of mind and cared enough to ensure fans would get something that lasts.  We were very appreciative of his extra effort.

After getting the signatures from Jamie, we went back to Aaron's line for his autograph.  However, we inadvertently insulted the guy:  at his table,  we noticed one of the pictures there was a portrait of his character from Stargate, SG1.  Neither of us knew Aaron was ever in that show.  He responded:  "Oh yeah, I was in the episode called Resurrection.  It was a very good episode...stilettos81 blurted out:  "Oh, I saw that one... Yeah, it's very good, but I didn't know you were in it!"  ::bang head::  Turned out Aaron was cool about the whole thing.  He not only signed his autograph, but also got up quickly to pose with stilettos81 when she asked if she could take a picture with him!  ::nice::

When we left Aaron, I noticed there were only a handful of people in front of Jamie's table.  So I decided on  impromptu to ask Jamie sign his portrait as Archie Kennedy (from Horatio Hornblower) for me.  As Jamie was signing his picture, Sylvie walked behind us.  We were caught by surprise and were happy to see her again, so we squeed.  Jamie looked up and said to Sylvie:  "Wow!  You are famous."  Sylvie introduced herself, and when Jamie learned her screen name, he said:  "You really ARE famous!"  I laughed and announced:  "I told her exactly the same thing earlier!"    After that, I realized I should give Sylvie room to talk to Jamie privately, so I forced myself away from the table.

All in all, I was thrilled to be able to see Jamie up close and exchange words with him--even though I sounded like a dork the whole time.  I was also really looking forward to the next day.  Not only there was going to be the first BSG panel, but we were also planning on taking pictures with Jamie by a professional photographer.

Besides the Bunnies, I also got to meet some other cool people from the Skiffy board:  Einehpets, and Ariel (I don't know her screen name) from the K/L thread, RenewingSpirit and MalteseCrichton who were Kitties (fans of Romo Lampkin), and Scarbuck,  plus RoaringDestiny.  I was impressed that RenewingSpirit had made a pillowcase with Mark Sheppard's image printed at the center and brought it for him to sign (he signed "Sweet Dreams!")--talk about imaginative place for an autograph.  The day was capped off with the group of us hung out in a pub near the hotels.  We had a great time there, but I was getting tired from hardly slept for the past couple of days.  So we left the bar early and headed back to our hotel.

(See Friday pictures...)

Saturday, the BSG panel "Two Apollos a Chief and a Battlestar" was scheduled at 11:30 in the morning.  Even though we headed back to our room early the previous night, I was too excited to fall asleep.  We ended up talking till the wee hours in the morning.  By the time we got up and looked out our window, we saw the Dragon*Con Parade was starting on the street.  stilettos81 dashed downstairs to take pictures while I got ready upstairs.

We didn't get to the Hyatt ballroom until ~15 minutes before the BSG panel would start.  Unlike the day before, the room was packed by the time we got there.  We ended up taking seats way in the back.  Also different from the previous day was the panel itself.  Gone was the awkwardness this time.  The panel consisted Jamie, Richard, Aaron.  They were a lot of fun.  Aaron may or may not have had a hangover.  Jamie confirmed my suspicion that he wasn't comfortable "bashing" the other show the day before.  Many nice things were said during the panel, and it was evident these people are good friends and are very comfortable with each other.

One thing was a little conspicuous though:  as many may know, Katee Sachkoff was supposed to appear at Dragon*Con this year.  But she canceled at the eleventh hour citing conflict of schedule with her shooting for Bionic Woman.  However during the panel, Aaron let on that Katee was in fact vacationing in Mexico!  I can't tell if he was joking or telling the truth.  If it was true...

After the panel, we regrouped with the rest of the Bunnies at the hallway outside the ballroom.  I finally get to see Mick and her husband again.  We missed each other the night before because they arrived late due to the heavy traffic on the road.  As we stood there discussing where to go next, I noticed the excited look on stilettos81's face.  I turned around and saw Richard Hatch was about to walk pass me.  I squeed and beamed at him.  He stopped, smiled back, and to my utter amazement, HUGGED me!  I think my brain must've overloaded--I can't believe I got a hug from Richard Hatch!  Meanwhile, he moved on and hugged the other Bunnies.  He was very friendly.  He took his time to pose for pictures with us right there in the crowded hallway!  He told us he was on his way to the Walk of Fame.  That decided for us--we would head to Marriott next!

When we got there, some of the Bunnies went to set things up with the photographer so that we could take a group picture with Jamie later.  stilettos81 and I went downstairs to get more autographs.  We went to check if Claudia Black had showed up.  We were disappointed the day before that she wasn't in the Farscape panel.  We were told it was because she was only scheduled to arrive on Saturday.

To our satisfaction, we saw a line in front of where Claudia was supposed to sit.  Her table was situated among the Stargate people, away from her Farscape cast-mates.  stilettos81 went to select a picture for the signature.  She came back with a recent photo of the actress and was in the process of telling me she was bummed because there wasn't a portrait of CB's character Aeryn Sun from Farscape.  All of a sudden, we heard a voice saying:  "Yeah there is.  There's one of her holding a gun in the far corner!"  Huh?!  We looked again, and sure enough, we missed it before!  We looked back to thank the person who gave us the helpful information and realized it was Claudia Black herself!  In my opinion, Claudia is strikingly pretty in person.  Even though she was visibly pregnant, she still appeared lean and toned.  Maybe she's a bit shy, or she was simply busy signing autographs, Claudia didn't quite look at the people she was speaking with.  Whatever the reason, it gave the impression she wasn't in the mood for conversation.  So we thanked her and walked away as soon as she scribbled her signature.

Inexperienced Con attendees that we were, we didn't bring anything that would allow us to safe keep the 8x10 photograph.  stilettos81 was then stuck with holding Claudia's picture carefully in her hands.  On top of that, I was getting hungry for not having anything to eat yet.  Fortunately we ran into laurie31 who informed us the photo session with Jamie wasn't until 3:00 pm.  We made plans to meet everyone there then and went to get an hour long of "refueling."

Around 3:00 pm, we got back to the photo session place in Marriott.  The rest of the "Bamber Bunnies" were already there wearing the bunny t-shirts.  Jamie and Aaron were both in the room for the photo shoot.  As we stood in line waiting, there was this guy who approached us asking if he could take a picture with all of us.  He pointed to his t-shirt that said:  "I EAT BUNNIES LIKE YOU FOR BREAKFAST!"  We all laughed at the joke and posed for picture with him.

We were then told the group picture would be last, so some of us switched back to our regular clothes for our individual pictures with the stars.  Poor Bamberrific had to "strip" in public.  Good thing she was so tiny that she was easily shielded by us standing around her.

Sylvie was right in front of stilettos81 and me.  The photographer's  assistants were very efficient in herding people through the picture taking process as quickly as possible.  Though the funny thing was:  as soon as Jamie put his arm around Sylvie to pose for the picture, the photographer's cell phone rang, and he proceeded to take a lengthy call.  Eventually, the photographer hung up the phone and apologized to Sylvie.  She "calmly" reassured him don't be--he could take as much time as he wanted!  ::hehe::

After Sylvie, it was our turn to pose with Jamie.  I walked into the room nervously.  I totally missed what Jamie said to us because I was busy listening to the assistant telling us to leave our handbags near the exit so we could grab them on the way out (did I mention they were efficient?)  According to stilettos81 who later told me Jamie teased:  "Wow, ladies in red!" when we walked in (we each wore a red dress.)  On second thought, maybe it was a good thing I didn't hear him, otherwise I would've been even more self-conscious.  The photographer told us to stand on either side of Jamie near the marker.  I put my arm gingerly around his waist. ::thud::  The guy *feels* every bit as trim as he *looks*--there simply isn't an ounce of fat on him!  I could tell he put his hand lightly on my shoulder--friendly and tactful at the same time.  ::very nice::

The picture taking was over quickly, and the Bunnies regrouped in the hallway outside the room.  We now each put on our bunny t-shirt again and waited.  Finally it was our turn, and we filed back into the room.  I fancy Jamie was a little startled (maybe even confused) to see all of us in the pink t-shirts, especially some of us he had just saw merely minutes ago!  I think Aaron was surprised and amused as well.  Bamberrific came all prepared--she pulled out an extra bunny shirt and handed it to Aaron.  Amazingly Aaron put the shirt on without hesitation!  Everyone in the room started to laugh.  Jamie and Aaron walked in front of the camera, hugged and posed, all the while cameras were clicking away.  I was desperately trying to take pictures while holding back laughter.  I failed miserably because my hands shook from laughing so hard.  Therefore, I only caught three blurry pictures of Jamie and our newly adopted "Bamber Bunny!"

After the photographer snapped some shots of Jamie and Aaron together, we went on to take the group picture.  There were so many of us (12 including Jamie and Aaron), it was pretty hard to fit everyone in and catch everyone all looking nice.  I ended up looking weird in the picture with my face contorted from holding back giggles!  No matter, the important thing was Jamie looked as awesome as ever and we were left with such fun memory of the whole experience! (ETA:  the photographer actually sent us another version where everyone was looking nice--I think he combined different takes into one picture...)

I didn't quite see how it ended, but apparently Aaron took off the t-shirt afterward, and *jokingly* threw it back to Bamberrific saying:  "Worst idea, EVER!"  Hmmm...  Wonder what he's referring to:  making the t-shirt, or making him wear the t-shirt?  ::heh::

Since we were last to take picture with Jamie, we knew he would be heading downstairs shortly.  I went back to the Walk of Fame to get more signature from him. ::greedy me::  This time I wanted Jamie to sign the DVD jacket that has both Adamas--my favorite pair on the show!  I was a bit embarrassed because I was at Jamie's table twice already from the other day.  I must've blushed when I told him "It's me again, I came back to get more signature!"  I now officially felt a bit like a stalker!  Again, Jamie was very nice and professional.  He signed my DVD with the same care he had shown the day before.

After leaving Jamie's table, I found laurie31 who were getting ready to give Jamie some thoughtful gifts.  She made sure everyone from our group was present.  Together, we approached Jamie's table (yet again.)  laurie31 took out a couple of coloring books and handed them to Jamie.  They were for his daughters.  The books were all about Thumper, Bambi's cute little bunny friend.  Talk about the appropriateness! ::hehe::  Jamie was very gracious.  He commented:  "Oh bunnies, they love bunnies!"  laurie31 also presented Jamie with a picture of Lee and Bill Adama she photoshopped awhile ago.  It was a scene from Sacrifice where Lee was lying in the sickbay.  Originally, it was Dee who was by his side, but she took out Dee and added Bill in the picture.  The funny thing was, it took Jamie sometime to realize the picture was doctored!  Jamie's reaction does make me wonder if indeed they had shot scenes with Bill keeping vigil at Lee's bedside, but was never used in the episode.  Anyway, laurie31 voiced the opinion on how ridiculous it was for Bill to be by the side of the long dead Cylon instead of his critically injured son.  This drew some agreements from people gathered around.  ::hugs laurie::  She then gave Jamie a couple more photoshopped pictures of Lee and Bill from the mini series (the scene where they were standing side-by-side in their dress grays.)  The same picture was used at The Adama Realm as our logo image.  But she added a couple of Santa hats to the Adamas and called it "The Adama Family Christmas Card!"  ::giggle::  Bless her heart, after laurie31 presented the pictures, she took the opportunity to plug for The Adama Realm to Jamie!  She also told him to let the writers know that we wish to see more father-and-son moments--lots more--in the upcoming season! ::tackle hug laurie::

After laurie31 presented her gifts, she prompted Bamberrific to give Jamie hers.  Bamberrific took out several bunny t-shirts and announced to him this was Katee Sachkoff's idea:  she was the one who suggested at the last Con they attended that they should give the bunny t-shirts to Jamie's kids!  So here they were, but they had to guess the sizes.  Jamie unfolded a t-shirt (the size looked like an XS) and said:  "Wow, they'll have to grow into it!"  The Bunnies all corrected him:  "No, no, this is for Kerry!  The ones underneath it are for your daughters!"  I think Jamie was pleased the Bunnies had thought of his wife.  Again he thanked everybody and put the gifts away.

Phew, mission accomplished!  As we bid farewell to Jamie, we took the opportunity to ask him if he would attend the Banquet that night.  At first, Jamie said he'd be there.  We were pleased--we told him that we would all get dolled up for the event.  He then asked for confirmation that the party was at 10:00 pm.  That's when we realized he was talking about the BSG Party, not the Banquet.  Jamie then corrected his answer that he would not attend the Banquet, but he would pop into the BSG Party for a little while.  Needless to say we were a little disappointed.  Oh well, we had to head straight to the BSG Party after the Banquet then.  Turned out the party was going to be held at a place that's just two floors down from the Banquet hall--not bad at all.

The Banquet itself was quite uneventful.  stilettos81 and I were the first ones to get there (apparently the rest of the Bunnies had a pool party at their hotel!)   As we waited in line, I was getting awfully nervous because I thought we were severely overdressed.  Most people there either wore jeans and t-shirts, or costumes.  Finally, the rest of the Bunnies and their spouses showed up, and I was immediately relieved--they were all looking marvelous in their beautiful dresses and suits!

The dinner was almost vegetarian (if not for the cheese)--for $35.00 per person, they served salad, pasta, mixed vegetables, cheese ravioli, and rounded off with desert and coffee.  Mick jokingly said her husband was still hungry after the meal!  I knew mine would've said the same thing had he been there.  Anyway, we snuck out right after the desert was served.  Two by two,  we trickled out of the room pretending we needed to go to the restroom! ::hehe::

By then, it was only 8:30 pm--still some time to kill till the 10:00 party.  So we went down one level and found this semi spacious spot to take pictures in our "fineries."  After shutterbugs' clicks died down, we just sat there on the floor resting our poor feet.  I think it was me, but I can't recall for sure, who suggested we might as well head downstairs to wait for the party to start.  I was worried there was going to be a crush of people.

Sure enough, when we got downstairs, there was already a long line formed for the party.  So we waited at the end of the que.  More people kept coming.  Soon the line behind us extended out of sight.  Because the party was listed in the Dragon*Con program, I had thought it was put together by whoever ran the Con.  We quickly learned it wasn't so.  In fact, this party was thrown by this group of fans called themselves Colonial Fleet.  Apparently, the Colonial Fleet was some sort of online fan board.  But no one in our group had ever heard of it before.  As we waited, one of the host walked down the hallway announcing there was going to be a cash bar at the party, therefore guests had to be carded before allowed admittance.  Drat!   laurie31 and BeyondInsane both left their wallets back in their hotel rooms!  There simply wasn't another way-- laurie31 and BI's fiancée had to run back to get their IDs (their hotel was several blocks away from Hyatt.)  So they took off quickly.

Not soon after they left, the same guy walked down the hallway again announcing due to regulations, they could only allow 100 people inside.  Members and friends of Colonial Fleet would have the priority to get in.  Oookay, we heard you, but we were NOT leaving!

For the next hour or so, the guy kept coming back telling everybody waiting in line that he wished we would just leave because there was no way we could get in.  They started handing out these buttons to the members and friends of the Colonial Fleet.  At one point, one of the girl host came over and pinned the buttons on a group of people immediately behind us.  I heard her cautioning them not to take the buttons off because they needed them to get in.

As time wore on, the chance for us to get in became slimmer.  I would've gave up if not for our friends hadn't made their way back yet.  So steadfastly we waited.  Around 10:00 pm, we were startled to see Mark Sheppard and Jamie walking by on their way to the party!  They saw us too.  Reportedly, Mark said to Jamie that he would kiss one of Jamie's Bunnies, and proceeded to give Bamberrific a smooch!

After Jamie and Mark left, we kept on waiting.  The announcement guy was getting frustrated--nobody had left after his repeated announcement that whoever not in possession of THE button was not likely to get in.  Things didn't look too good for us.  But the good news was laurie31 and BI's fiancée came back with the necessary IDs.

Finally, about half past ten, the same host came back for the last announcement:  they had handed out the buttons to ALL the members and friends of the Colonial Fleet, and they still had a handful leftover.  Therefore, they would start to let people in, but they could only allow a limited number of extras to get in.

Thankfully, the line started to move forward.  I was getting hopeful and jittery at the same time.  I saw some of the Bunnies got in--great, but there were a lot of us in our group.  stilettos81 was right in front of me, after she went in, I heard one of the host asking another one posted by the door how many more (to let in).  She looked at us and quietly said:  "Two more."  I looked back and saw Mick's husband was behind me, rounding off our group.  OMG!  I walked past the threshold and turned around.  I was relieved to see Mick's husband walked inside as well.  Phew!  We all got in!  It never crossed my mind before, but as I'm recounting the story, I now wonder if we had some kind of "divine" help in getting us into the party that night...  It was incredible luck that we were the last "extras" to get in.  Supposedly, Jamie said to some Bunnies at the party that he was pleased to see all his "Bunnies" got in!

Once inside, I noticed these Colonial Fleet people were actually quite nice.  These hosts were easily discernible because they were all dressed in BSG costumes:  dress blues, flight suits, and double tanks over green fatigue pants were the norm.  There were some (one of which is a guy with balloons stuffed down his chest) dressed as Six in her red dress.  I even spotted a guy dressed as the creepy Baltar.  One of the girl dressed as Kara in her blue dress from Colonial Day.  There was a host with a voice that sounded uncannily like Katee Sachkoff.  At one point when she was behind the microphone, I had to strain my neck to see and make sure it wasn't indeed the actress herself speaking!

The upside of crowd control for us was: once got in, we actually had a chance to get close to Jamie and Mark (I thought we weren't even going to be able to get a glimpse of the stars because they would be surrounded by people.)  I wish I had the courage and presence of mind to strike a conversation with Jamie.  I never had a problem of talking to stranger at a party before.  But I was completely tongue-tied this time--all I could do was to stare at Jamie thinking how handsome he is! ::idiotic::

As I was "hovering" near Jamie with other Bunnies, laurie31, who was snapping pictures with her camera, suggested to take a picture of Jamie and me.  I was shocked Jamie agreed readily.  So quickly I stood next to him, and laurie31 took a snapshot of us (I'm forever indebted to her!)  Even though I had just took picture with Jamie twice earlier, this felt entirely different.  For one thing, he wasn't "obligated" to pose with me this time!  A final note on the picture:  I didn't see it until days later when laurie31 posted it in the Bunnie thread on Skiffy board.  OMG!  I had not realized I was standing THIS close to Jamie--unintentionally, i "invaded" his personal space (or was it intentionally on the subconscious level?!) 

Not long after the picture taking, Jamie and Mark left the party.  We stayed on a bit more.  At one point, BI went and got a very good-looking "Lee Stand-in" to come pose pictures with us.  He was wearing the dress blue costume.  He told us fans can order BSG costume from the Colonial Fleet.  But all the pants come in size 32" inseam.  His pants must've been custom-make then since the guy was quite tall.  Gosh, I would love to get a BSG costume for Halloween this year!!

We've all had quite a long day.  Many of us were beat and decided to head back to our hotels.  Though the lovely ClosingTime wanted to stay and wait for Aaron Douglas to show up.  She was quite taken with him since the Dragon*Con began.  I kinda wanted to stay as well, but stilettos81 was very tired, and I didn't want her to walk back to the hotel alone.  So we left the party together.

(See Saturday pictures...)

Argh!  LJ choked--it seems my entry is getting too big for one post.  So I have to break it into two parts!

(Click here for part II)

Tags: dragon*con, jamie bamber
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