Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Gallifrey One

It's been many, many years since Hubby-Eric and I went to Gallifrey One, mostly due to monetary issues. So our triumphant return to the convention after so long was incredibly pleasant.

It started when a friend got tickets but couldn't make the trip. We got our tickets via a transfer, and then waited for months, knowing we were finally going back. However, as the date drew near, the weather started to become uncooperative. Very uncooperative. A massive storm hit the west coast, and Seattle in particular, closing the mountain passes. As we had to take Inkwell the Magical Cat to his grandparents' house to stay while we were in California, the countdown to the trip became a nightmare of constantly checking the status of the passes and hoping one would be open when it came time to go.

Fortunately, White Pass was... passable... the night before our flight. It's two hours longer than Snoqualmie Pass to get to my parents' house, but because the pass was VERY clear, we made it in very good time. Snoqualmie, in the meantime, was closed due to avalanche danger.

Both Eric and I packed really light. I mean *REALLY* light. I had a carpet bag and my purse, Eric had a backpack. We were going as light as we could manage in the hopes that we wouldn't have to check anything and we could move faster when needed. I hoped it would reduce my anxiety about flying a little, but it also meant we had no room for anything we might want to buy in the dealers room.

My sister drove us out to the airport on Thursday morning with lots of time planned for security. Luckily, although the security lines were longish, they weren't *too* bad and we reached our gate with plenty of time to go before boarding. I had time to talk with the gate agents about my anxiety issues, and was promised I could pre-board. I really hate flying. I mean, I get scared and anxious and feel like I'm being eaten by bugs and dipped in fire and drowning and everything all at once. I had some Dramamine this time, and took it the moment I was settled in my seat on the plane. Then I listened to podcasts while everyone else boarded and we left the gate. By the time we reached cruising altitude I was mostly asleep. The flight down was not bad.

Once out of the airport, we got a shuttle to the Marriott, where the con was being held. Other Galley attendees were on the shuttle and we even got our first ribbons of the con - before we even had badges! Once at the hotel, I asked about registration and was told it wouldn't open until 3 pm. It was noonish. So Eric and I went into Hanger 18 for a ridiculously expensive lunch of fish tacos, then walked down the street a bit to our hotel (the Crowne Plaza) and checked in. Our friend Dan Murphy let us know when registration opened, so we headed back to the Marriott and got our badges. We were also introduced to the concept of TARDIS tufts.

For dinner, we did the In And Out burger run, which is a tradition on Thursday night of the con. We went with the Murphys and some other friends, getting a little rained on as we went. I can honestly say I will never get fries at that place again, although my sister said they just need salt on them. We got lovely burgers and ate in an incredibly packed restaurant with a crush of bodies that was unreal - and got a ribbon for *that*, too.

As we loitered around the convention space, a woman asked us to come over to her group and explain ribbons to them. So we were introduced to the Doctor Who Restoration Team, and got to explain the concept of badge ribbons and how it's exploded. It was great fun.

That night we attended the ice cream social. As we were waiting in line to go in, Richard Franklin wandered around saying hello to people. I waved at him and he came over to chat with hubby and I for a bit before moving on. It was very nice.

Once inside I went to see about an envelope of coins while hubby waited for ice cream. Once we had our treat, we found a table and made some new friends. I noticed that Carole Ann Ford and William Russell were walking across the floor and told Eric that I really, really, really wanted to tell William about the Twitch stream and how he had become a meme online. I saw them turn my way and waved to them... and they walked over to chat with me.

I was a bit more than gushing and so freaking thrilled about chatting with them that I felt like I was imploding or something. While we chatted, Frazer Hines came over to talk with them as well. Leading to me chatting animatedly with all three of them and trying to explain the Twitch Doctor Who Marathon. When I said "London 1965" became a meme, all three of them in unison said, "What's a meme?"

I also got to explain ribbons to Carole Ann Ford, and helped her put her first ribbon on her badge. And hubby-Eric got to tell Frazer that, despite having gone to cons for more than 30 years, this was the first time the two of them had managed to meet.

My mind basically exploded at that point, and I really don't remember going back to the hotel for the night. But we did, and we got up Friday morning having already had an excellent convention and went down to a very expensive hotel breakfast. When we went back up to our room, we couldn't get back in. The door latch had somehow swung far enough over that the door wouldn't open. We were a bit boggled, and Eric went down to the front desk for help.

The janitor guy had a tool specifically for this problem, and was able to open the door quickly once he arrived. After that, we always made sure the bolt part was up against the wall when we left the room, since we had no idea how it had swung over to lock the door.

We got to the Marriott early, and lobby-conned before Eric's 10 am panel. His panel was about being fans in the days before the new show came out, and was a lot of fun. I got to mention flicker-vision, which Eric explained, and there was a great deal of joy in chatting about the fun of finding tapes and making the discovery of new (old) episodes and learning about fandom piece by piece. One panelist wondered if current fans appreciate the show as much, because they didn't have to go to the sheer effort of finding stories to watch that older fans did. There was a question of gatekeeping, but the panelists said it didn't make them any less of a fan, just made them wonder.

My panel was at noon, so I wandered a bit between panels. I stopped in on Jon Davey's presentation, which was great. I wish I could have gone for the whole thing, but I was having trouble sitting still - and I had a panel to prep for. I found water, as I was parched pretty much all the time. I drank a ton of water while at the convention. Unfortunately, there was no water service in the hotel on Thursday, when I was suffering the most. But by Friday all the water tanks were being kept full by attentive staff.

My panel, moderated by Paul Cornell, was about Doctor Who Magazine comics, and while I had done some of my homework beforehand, I hadn't gotten through all the comics like I intended to. So I felt ill at ease among the panelists who included people who had worked on the comics and been part of the industry for years, while I was just this fangirl having fun. I didn't feel truly at ease until the end of the panel, when an audience member came up to me to compliment me on an observation I made. At that point, the whole thing was worth it.

The Dealers Room had girl scouts. They had a weeping angel scout. It was awesome.

I have very little memories of the rest of the day. I know we had another expensive lunch at the Marriott, and then I saw Katy Manning (I'm pretty sure I gave her a hug at one point, too) and around 3 pm I headed back to our hotel room to drop something off and made the mistake of taking off my shoes. I had intended to go to the Catherine Tate presentation, but fell into a deep and pleasant sleep with some very strange dreams that I cannot quite remember. That was it for me on Friday. I know Eric went to some other events and got back late to the room, but he'll have to tell you what he was up to, because I was completely out of it.

I was wide awake Saturday morning. I suppose it helped that a woman in the room next to us was having a screaming argument with someone who wasn't as loud. She was so noisy I could hear her while I was in the shower. Eventually Eric called the front desk about it, since they were not calming down, and someone came to have a chat with them. About twenty minutes after security left, she started up again, but we were leaving at that point.

We did the breakfast buffet at the Crowne Plaza, then headed directly to the Marriott where we spent the rest of the day until the Masquerade was over. It was a long day, but a fun day. For the most part, I dipped in an out of panels and the dealers room, and chatted with people and wandered around meeting folks. I got to show John Barrowman my "Captain Jack Slept Here" ribbon, and he said, "Oh, you have NO idea where he's slept!"

I visited the art show, and spent a good amount of time in the dealers room, although I bought very little due to the very tight space we had for traveling. The costumes were out in force, and I took a few photos.

There was a lot to see and do. I know Eric sat on a lot of panels, but I didn't hit as many because I don't like to sit still for long and prefer to be moving around or in a very comfortable seat. Banquet seating is not in the least bit comfortable, so I usually have trouble sitting through full panels.

I did spend some time at the con suite, or rather right outside the door of the con suite, catching Pokemon by the pool. There was enough GPS drift at the pool that I was "walking" between several pokestops while catching Community Day Pokemon and chatting with other Pokemon Go players. It was a lovely day, with just enough of a breeze to be cool and enough sunlight to keep anything in the sunlight warm. I'm not entirely sure how long I was down there, but it was excellent time, well-spent with good friends.

At three pm I went to the main hall to sit in on Colin Baker's presentation. I hadn't heard all the stories he told, so that was a lot of fun. As the panel went on, more and more people poured in the room for the next event: John Barrowman. I had a decent seat and Eric joined me for the Barrowman presentation.

Now, I knew that Barrowman puts on a show... but I'd never actually seen him before (although I've been to cons with him before). So I wasn't sure what to expect. He delivered. He is insane, certifiably. And he is lovely funny. And dirty funny. And told a story about his husband accidentally flashing a live stream on Facebook, and how John's in-laws took the news. It was painfully funny.

Towards the end of Barrowman's bit, Catherine Tate came out and showed off her ribbons... which extended all the way from the front of the room to the back. It was a truly epic roll of ribbonage. She claimed victory over Barrowman and said she would sign the thing and auction it off. Barrowman was speechless for a half a second, but then they just kept trading quips. It was glorious. By the way, I did get in line to ask Barrowman a question, but never got to the front. My question was going to be about his Animal Hospital show, since no one else had mentioned it.

Following Barrowman was Tate on the main stage, and she was as lovely as it's possible to get. She told great stories, but couldn't answer a lot of questions about Doctor Who. I didn't have any real questions for her, so I stayed in my seat. She was able to get through her entire line of questioners, because she answered questions and didn't go off onto a tangent for 20 minutes each time.

I'm not entirely sure what we did right after Tate, but at some point hubby and I visited the Burger Babes food truck for dinner. They had been there since lunch, so they were actually running out of food. We ordered two "She's Smokin" burgers and, to be clear, I wasn't expecting much. But they were incredibly good. It was one of the best burgers I've ever had. I have low tastes in general, but these were enough to spoil you for any regular hamburger.

Sometime after dinner we got in line for the Masquerade. As it turned out, it wasn't a full house, but we had fun in the third row. I made paper frogs while we waited in line and gave them out to people. And the host, Tony Lee, used me as an example when he came back with the results. It's a long story, but yes, I was dying of thirst in there.

The Masquerade itself was excellent, with people in the "novice" category making me wonder if they need to add a "pre-novice" category. Or maybe a "I suck at costuming but I'm enthusiastic" category. One of the funnier bits was Queen Victoria with the Doctor, Rose and a Werewolf doing Scooby-Doo style running behind her. The folks who dressed as badge ribbons also were a big hit.

Halftime at the Masque was Paul Cornell hosting a "game show" between comic book creators and actors. Three on each side. Two told lies and one told the truth about some subject. It was really difficult to tell the truth from the lies in many cases. I will never look at Christopher Jones the same way.

Hubby and I got back late to our hotel, and fell into a lovely sleep. No screaming ladies that night.

Sunday morning we got ourselves together and packed our bags for the plane and for the day. We checked out, had a very light breakfast, and then off to the Marriott for the rest of the con. I ended up in one room for the whole morning, sitting in on a panel about the Master and the many folks who have portrayed the character, a panel about social commentary in Doctor Who (and its history going back to the original series), and a panel about the Titans Comics. Then it was my turn, and I did a panel about the Twitch livestream and enjoyed myself immensely while worrying the entire time that I was being too pushy and taking too much time.

After our panel, the Verity Podcast crew came in an did "In Defense Of..." which is fun. I had a couple of friends go up and compete. After that, I literally lobby-conned it, sitting in the lobby until it was time to catch the shuttle to the airport.

On our shuttle to the airport was director Rachel Talalay, who continued the con until we reached the Alaska/Air Canada terminal. Once there, we wandered until we were directed to the right place by a sympathetic security guard, and got in line for screening. It went WAY faster than in SeaTac... I mean, there was practically no line at all. Then we found our gate. We learned the Western Washington University Lacrosse team was going to be on our flight, and we had burgers at a place called Habit Burger. Not as good as the food truck burgers, but still tasty.

I was allowed to pre-board again, and asked for a little water. My hand was shaking so badly that I spilled it when Eric handed it to me - all over Eric's seat. Poor guy. I had a very very bad flight, even with the Dramamine. I listened to podcasts again, but they didn't stop the pain and the horrible sensations and the feeling of imminent death. Every bit of turbulence was the end of the world and every strange sound was death creeping up on us. I was so incredibly relieved when we landed that I almost cried.

Soon after, my sister came and we were at my folks' house again, re-united with Inkwell the Magical Cat, who had begun to believe we were gone for good and was getting depressed. Late the next morning we set off for home across Snoqualmie, and I collapsed for the rest of the day.

It was a good convention. I am still worn out, but not as badly as I feared I would be. But then, I slept for something like 15 hours once we got home. Hubby-Eric has con crud, and I'm sure it will reach me eventually (if the sleep didn't stave it off). And both of us want to attend Gallifrey One next year, if at all possible.


Carolyn said...

Thanks for the awesome trip report! I really hope that you both get to go to Gallifrey next year again. What a lot of fun!

Elayne said...

Okay then, explain the ribbons to me. :)

Tegan said...

Hi Elayne! Originally, ribbons were made to indicate roles at a convention, such a "moderator" or "volunteer". Each badge would have one ribbon IF the person wearing it had a role like that.

But then someone realized the ribbons could be "chained", with each ribbon connecting to the ribbon above it. People with multiple roles suddenly could have ribbons for each one.

Then people started making their own ribbons, some of the silly. It took off. It **REALLY** took off. People started trading ribbons and collecting them, and making things out of them when they finished the convention... or sometimes even during the convention.

Gallifrey has a long tradition now of people trading and collecting ribbons, including the invited guests. Barrowman made a long chain a few years back and auctioned it off for charity after having fun with it on-stage.

In short, it's one of those really odd fan things that happened almost spontaneously, and is now a convention tradition.