2013 Convention Schedule

First off, if you see this twice in your feeds, I’m sorry. Because it’s relevant in several places, I’m cross posting it to both my author blog and my personal one, but a day apart.

That said, to no one’s surprise, I’m raising a group of geek kids. My wife is the token non-geek, she thinks, but has either developed geeky attributes as she’s adapted to the rest of us, or she’s just letting her inner geek out to play a little more. Either way, we’re a geek family.

And we like cons. Each of us for different reasons, probably, but a lot of those cross over. Cons are fun.

I’ll be attending four conventions this year, with the possibility of yet to be scheduled day trips to a couple more depending on days off and budget at the time. This is on par with last year for me, but with some differences as one of those was World Fantasy which I went to on my own and two were day trips.

But for 2013, we’re looking at this as a minimum:

We (myself and my oldest daughter) will be at Ad Astra April 5-7. This is mostly a lit con with some other stuff thrown in. I’m looking forward to renewing a few real world friendships, conducting some interviews, going to some cool panels, and having a great time with my daughter. Tickets purchased months ago, hotel booked.

On May 24, by request as a birthday present, I’ll be taking the same daughter to Anime North. She’s in love with anime and cosplay and it seems like a natural fit. Again just the two of us. Further, I have agreed to cosplay for the event. We will both be attending as characters from Soul Eater. In her case, the heroine Maka, and in my case Professor Stein. Tickets purchased.

August 22-25, the annual family pilgrimage to the geek mecca known as FanExpo (also, I believe the third biggest con in the world after San Diego and New York comic cons). Four days of everything geek, and I do mean everything. Whatever it is, you can probably find it at FanExpo. Tickets not on sale yet, but vacation time booked.

Finally, there’s a small con starting just down the road from us, Quinte Mini Con in Belleville on November 9 & 10. Shortest drive to a con ever for us. Both daughters are in, son debating, wonderful wife to attend if she’s not working. Tickets not on sale yet, but they’re supposed to be, so probably any second, we hope.

It’s always the Year of the Geek, but it almost seems like 2013 is also the Year of the Con.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Be well, everyone.


FanExpo 2012, Day 4

Packing up the room to get things ready to go this morning. Dinner after FanExpo and then the drive home which is sad in an extra way: not only is it the last day of FanExpo, it’s the last day of my vacation. But enough emotional silliness. Today’s roundup of geeky exploits:

Turned Gamer Boy loose first thing to go see the Green Arrow premier (which he said was better than he expected) as neither of his sisters was interested and I’m not quite willing to turn them loose at FanExpo. Walked them around the floor for a while and added a pair of autographs to my collection: Kate Mulgrew and Nana Visitor. Ms. Mulgrew was just as engaging in person and Ms. Visitor was quite talkative as well. Very positive experiences both (which I have to say of all of my Star Trek cast member experiences so far).

The Rose McGowan photo op went very well for the girls. She’s shorter than I expected, but very personable in the few seconds you got to spend with her in the process.

Christopher Lloyd got held up by a few minutes coming from his photo op session, but once the microphone issues were sorted out, he was talkative and interesting, giving us a few quotes and anecdotes as parts of his answers. Before the Q&A, Someone tweeted as a joke that they didn’t think there were so many Taxi fans. Entertaining from my perspective, it proved predictive. Taxi came up a number of times, along with a lot of Back to the Future, and some Star Trek, Camp Nowhere, Piranha, and a couple of other roles.

Sadly, the Billy West autograph line didn’t work out again, and we rushed from the Christopher Lloyd Q&A to attempt a Rose McGowan signing of the picture we’d had taken, but missed her by a few minutes, and so didn’t make the end of what was probably a huge line for his Q&A either.

I took fewer pictures today than yesterday and maybe than the day before, but they were a bit more varied. Since I had three kids to worry about on my own for the first half of the day, that was my focus. Here’s the link to the Facebook album for what I’ve picked out of the stream. I’ll upload to Flickr on the first or second when my storage resets.

Be well, everyone.

FanExpo 2012, Day 2

I let Gamer Boy sleep a little and came in the front door a touch after 11. Again, the full pass is a beautiful thing. Did a little floor cross-crossing to check some features and timing and do a little browsing.

Stood in an absurdly short line to get Lou Ferrigno‘s autograph and elected not to stand in an absurdly long one for Levar Burton’s. Gamer Boy talked me into the Lou Ferrigno/Stan Lee picture and, as of this writing, I’m still debating getting a matching signature from Mr. Lee on it as well. Had too much on the go to brave the lines (one to buy a ticket, one to get the picture signed, and one to get a letter of authenticity for Mr. Lee’s signature).

Live Action Anime (Thousand Pound Action Company) was plagued by a technical difficulty for the first few minutes, but the crew just jumped in to a Q&A session until they lose got solved. These guys are really passionate about their work and having a good time with their creative work. A quote from a member of the time (I couldn’t see who at the time): if you’ve seen our first video, turn to the person next to you and tell them how cool it is. A project they’re working on, Clandestine, looks pretty cool.

Levar Burton was a funny and entertaining guy, patient with everyone and even sharing a bit of news (he’ll be on another episode of Community and Big Bang Theory each). He strikes me as a very passionate and committed man who cares a great deal about education, kids, and his fans. Took about fifty pictures in hopes of getting a few good ones. Think I succeeded.

John Rhys-Davies was also very engaging. Not nearly as many questions got answered as the people in line waiting to ask were hoping, but he spoke at length and eloquently for each one. Two quotes to share from him: “find something you would do for free then make sure you get paid for it” and “there’s no cure for stupid”. I agree on both counts. I’ll also note that at one point during the panel, he joked about the beard he had to wear in Lord of the Rings, saying, “it’s that bloody stupid elf again” then paused for a second, looking straight at me, and said “sorry about that, dad”. A little later, he let the word “bastard” slip out and again looked down at us in the front row before apologizing directly to my daughter. The wonderful Carrie O’meara (please let me have spelled that correctly) has promised me a copy of the audio she recorded for Radio Humber, for which she will win an eternal fan of whatever she does in me.

We did not attend the Revolution screening. By the time we got out of the John Rhys-Davies Q&A, there were hundreds of people lined up to see it. Gamer Boy believed there were probably more lined up than would fit in the room (same room as Live Action Anime had been in earlier in the day). Instead, we spent a little more time (and money) on the convention floor before heading back to the hotel and dinner.

For pictures today, I’m going to do something a little different. Uploading them to WordPress was very time intensive. Actually, the ‘insert into post’ process was time intensive as each photo had to be done individually so its size could be selected at the point of insertion. Tonight, I’m going link to the set I created on Flickr for today’s survey of photos. Hope you enjoy.

That’s it for tonight. Tomorrow’s plans include “So You’re a Gamer and No One Understands You”, Kate Mulgrew, almost certainly Stan Lee, possibly Billy West and rose McGowan, and maybe another panel or two, time allowing. Oh, and more photos. And maybe more Twitter than today—today, I tried to force connectivity where there really wasn’t much and it sucked the battery drier than it should have. I’ll try to do better tomorrow on that.

Be well, everyone.

FanExpo 2012, Day 1

So, not exactly according to plan on all fronts, but as close as could be managed, I think. Our hotel room wasn’t as early as expected so, by the time we ate and bought one of the kids shoes, and actually got to the convention, it was a bit after four. That’s actually fine since we completely missed the line.

Halo 4. An early stop, but a long line. One of the kids elected not to wait for the experience and I walked her down to Artist’s Alley, with a couple of stops along the way including to get our picture put on the cover of an upcoming issue of “Justice League”. And as soon as I find the card with the link to my digital copy, I’ll post that. We’ll go back to Halo tomorrow and probably the next day too.

The David Prowse Q&A was unfortunately cancelled, at least for today. His plane was delayed and he didn’t make it to the con in time. He’s still slotted for his photo ops and autograph sessions tomorrow, so maybe they’ll reschedule.

Gamer Boy and I did see Stan Lee after all, getting as close as fifteen feet or so and taking pictures over the heads of a bunch of other people as he did a signing.

The Indie Genre Fiction panel was excellent and fairly well attended. I did manage to record and the audio quality isn’t awful, though needs some work. That said, I haven’t had a chance to listen to it all the way through. Moderated by Monica S. Kuebler (Rue Morgue), the authors present (in order of introduction) Karen Dales, Sass Cadeaux, Stephen B. Pearl, and Alan Draven.

Haven’t seen nearly all the con has to offer yet, but I’m not at all stressed about it. That was the point of getting the full pass: to relax and enjoy and be able to come and go as we please. I haven’t even really done any shopping yet.

Here’s a selection of pictures from today. Probably too many. More tomorrow.






Getting Ready for FanExpo

So while the kids get to be lazy slugs and lie around the house all day after our overnight trip to Ottawa and the Calypso Water Park, I have a lot to do to get ready for the pilgrimage to Geektopia that is FanExpo.

I’m not going to bother with tips for convention etiquette (like being polite and regular bathing) or good practices for going to a con (like comfortable shoes and sports bottles of water). Those are all covered very well elsewhere. A lot of elsewheres, really.

I’m also not going to go into all the things I’m packing to take the offspring to the con. For my own wardrobe, I’ll tweet a picture of which geeky t-shirt I’m wearing early in the morning to help people who want to find me on that particular day and I know at least a handful of other people are planning to do the same.

No, just for fun, I’m going to run through what I hope to manage at FanExpo this year. There were some tough choices due to scheduling and I have to take into account things the kids want to do with or without me, but it’s going to be a pretty packed weekend any way you look at it. I’m not listing specific booths I want to visit or artists I want to see or autographs I’m looking for this trip. Those are all on a checklist. There may be better times during the con to see some people, but I’ll have to manage the best I can.

So, subject to change, here we go.


3 out of 3 offspring agree that we need to hit the Halo 4 Multiplayer tryout early in our visit. And not just early in our visit, but every day any of them plans to attend the con. Multiple times. So be it. I’m a Halo fan, so why should I go against the majority on this one?

Having purchased the full Expo pass tickets, we theoretically get entrance into the con 2 hours early, depending on how many other people have bought the same tickets, we’ll have the opportunity to do a lingering first tour around the floor to check out all of the neat stuff and maybe do a little shopping and geek wardrobe improvement, plus check out some of the exciting booths and displays.

Current plans are for a very late lunch or very early dinner as David Prowse, who, among many other accomplishments, is Darth Vader, will be doing a Q&A session on Thursday at 7 and we’ll need to line up for that, I think, as it’s not in the giant room That’s where Stan Lee is going to be if anyone’s going—a tough decision, but the Dark Lord of the Sith has more of a universal appeal to the family.

After that, though, I’ll be abandoning the rest of the family to the convention floor as I run a few doors down to the Indie Genre Fiction panel, which promises an eclectic group of authors from different genres. I still hope to record this one for posterity, depending, but only have my iPhone to work with at this point having failed to get a portable digital recorder in time for the con. The iPhone does okay, if I can get a seat near the front and do a little work on the audio after the fact to make it listenable. We’ll see how it goes.


Friday has some tough choices and may involve a lot of standing in line. We’ll have a leisurely start to the day, though, as the first item on our must see agenda isn’t until 1, the live action anime film and demo. Looks absolutely hilarious.

After that, it’s a fairly relaxed afternoon until it’s time to line up to see Levar Burton in Hall G at 4. From everything I’ve seen in the past, he’s an entertaining speaker so this should be a good hour.

I thought I’d go to the Crowd Funding panel, which looks really interesting, at 5 to join my wife in line for John Rhys Davies, who’s speaking at 5:30. From there, it’s joining my son in line for the advanced screening of the pilot of the new JJ Abrams TV series Revolution. The concept looks really interesting and Gamer Boy is definitely an Abrams fan, so it should be good for both of us.


Saturday, the lady folk are talking off, and it’s a fairly relaxed day for specific events, which means it’s a day for seeing what there is to find and maybe a little time standing in line for autographs, depending.

In the morning, Gamer Boy and I are starting with a panel: So You’re a Gamer and No One Understands You. Sounds entertaining and I’m very curious what tack it’s going to take. From there, we probably move on to the Kate Mulgrew Q&A. The question there is will I be able to get anyone to come with me?


Sunday starts just as early but will be packed with stuff. I’m going to be run off my feet on Sunday, with different family members after different things.

First, at 11, a panel on The History of Video Games. Should be an interesting retrospective for me, and Gamer Boy might get something out of it, too. He’s actually the one who suggested we go, having long since fallen into the school of thought that game play is far more important than pretty sounds and graphics (although he admits those are nice, too).

My girls want a photo with and/or an autograph from Rose McGowan. Ms. McGowan has done a lot of work over the past couple of decades, but my girls know her for five seasons of Charmed and they spent half the summer watching the series from beginning to end. Photo Op is very likely and she’s also doing a Q&A today that will talk about a lot more than just Charmed, I think, and probably won’t thrill my daughters all that much.

At noon, there’s a Q&A and demonstration by an actual swordsmith built around Fantasy Armour and Weapons and that runs right up against the Steam Punk Author Panel (or the Brental Floss spotlight for Gamer Boy). This, in turn, runs right up against the Christopher Lloyd Q&A which we’ve all decided needs attending.

Which puts me in a tough spot to make the Billy West Q&A at 4. He’s signing autographs at some point every day during the con, for free, no less, so I’m going to get to see him for a few seconds at some point, but how can I pass up the opportunity to hear the man who voices Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, and Zapp Brannigan?

Which will make the convention over except for the long walk back to the street. Dinner, a couple of energy drinks, and the drive home. I work a night shift on Monday.

Now that’s going to be tough.