Rather than editing a video, I thought I'd distract myself by discussing my recent vacation to sunny Los Angeles for the Gallifrey One Doctor Who convention. This was my third trip out there, but easily the best. Since that first year, I've now built up a fair number of friends who either attend the convention or live in L.A.
I arrived on Valentine's day. I had an early flight, but other than waking up at 4:00 in the morning, it wasn't too bad of a flight. Almost no lines in checking my baggage in or going through security. Flight went smooth, got checked in and then I spent the afternoon with my friend Megan Christopher, who I met at last year's Gally. We've kept in contact and while she couldn't attend this year's con, she was gracious enough to show me around L.A. So we grabbed lunch, visited Meltdown comics, went to Hollywood Blvd and saw Grauman's Chinese Theater and the mall there as well as the Hollywood sign off in the distance.
The Highland Center mall, which is attached to the theater, is kind of neat to see since it's mostly outdoors, but the real highlight there is the candy store there. "Sweet! Hollywood" is amazing if you're a lover of sugary goodness. Tons of candy, as well as other kitschy Hollywood type stuff (fake Oscar statues, various Star Wars/Trek/Doctor Who stuff, etc). We saw someone making taffy. You can also customize your own candy bar if you want (I didn't. It's about $20 for a bar). They also have a Willy Wonka store there that features a ton of cool stuff including real Golden Chocolate Eggs you can purchase and real Wonka bars. I got a "Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight Bar" which was essentially just chocolate wrapped around caramel and marshmallow fluff, but it was delicious. I snacked on that bar for about two days, which was nice since it gave me a bit of fuel during the con (I ate very little during the convention. Food in the hotel is expensive). Megan hadn't been to the mall since they added Sweet! Hollywood and she threatened to just move into the store. I don't blame her.
That evening we went to the Largo theater and saw a performance of The Thrilling Adventure Hour, a radio style play performed live. Kind of like Prairie Home Companion, but much funnier. This was a special Valentine's day special featuring the show's occult-related members of high society, Frank and Sadie Doyle and it was a lot of fun. Some cool guest voices, including Joe Mantegna showed up. Amazing show. If you ever visit L.A., other than the theater is in a slightly shady area (right across the street from a strip club... yay), I do recommend you see if a show is performing while you're there.
I then went back to the hotel and collapsed.
The start of the convention. And the day I spent the most money at the convention. I wound up buying a fair amount of Doctor Who stuff. Mostly in the form of Big Finish's audio adventures.
I also picked up a collection of Dave Gibbons (of Watchmen fame) Doctor Who comics and I met Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Natalie Morales who created and starred respectively in the tv show "The Middleman" who were also attending the convention. Javier was hilarious and Natalie quite sweet (she also performed the Thrilling Adventure Hour show, I tried to impress her a little by saying I saw her there, but I think I was the 7th person who told her that).
(I've now actually watched through the series, and it's a loving & highly silly tribute to comics and other geek culture and if you haven't watched it, I recommend you check it out.)
The evening ended with me collapsing in bed.
Most of Saturday was spent attending panels (including a rather cool comics panel where I talked to writer Sterling Gates for a little while afterwards), interviews (including the 7th Doctor/Radagast the Brown himself Sylvester McCoy eschewing the stage and planned interviewers and instead going into the crowd to have them ask questions) and waiting in line two hours for the Masquerade show. "The Masque of Mandragora" is where cosplayers get to show off and/or perform with their costumes. It was fine, but I can't help but feel that the two previous years were better. I think part of that normally there is at least one large comedy skit every year and this time it was kind of lame (it had a sweet tribute to Sarah Jane, but the comedy of it was basically one joke repeated). But the highlight of that evening was Tony Lee hosting Just A Minute, a game show done with some of the guests and panelists where they're given a subject and have to talk for a minute with no hesitation, repetition or deviation. This generally results in a free for all of people barely getting a few words out before someone else challenges their discussion for the weakest of reasons (Such as Scottish comedian Charlie Ross' accent being too difficult to understand).
The evening ended with me collapsing in bed.
The last day of the convention and I took it fairly easy. I attended some panels, but a fair amount of my time was spent at the charity auction. A friend who I met last year, Juli, had some hand knitted "Tiny Doctors" which she had donated. She was really nervous about how they'd be received and I said I'd stop in and see how the auction was going. Well I kind of sucked in and bid on some items. Only thing I won was a t-shirt, but I raised the price on some stuff and that money went to charity, so I don't mind. Juli was a bit upset when she discovered her set of the 11 Tiny Doctors got broken up into four smaller sets, though it did probably result in more money overall.
That's about it for the con itself. I skipped the closing ceremonies. Why you ask? Well four of my fellow contributors over at Geekvision.tv live out there. Tony, Garrett, Charlie and the lovely Morgan took me out to dinner at Canter's Deli. I was told I was going to have the best pastrami I'll ever have... and it was ok. It was good pastrami, no doubt, but it's not going to make me change my religion or anything. Maybe I should have just gotten the hot pastrami instead of the pastrami dip to really impress me. Oh well. They did have excellent pickles there. We then went to the famed UCB theater, where we saw a show. The show felt more like a podcast than a comedy show at a renowned improv troupe's comedy show, but eh, it was $5 to enter was still fun, especially hanging out with people who I never get to see (other than in videos).
I then returned to the hotel... and rested peacefully.
Last day in L.A. and me and Megan hung out again, this time going to Santa Monica. We had pizza for lunch, I saw the beach. We looked at stores. Talked about our favorite tv shows. Pretty relaxed afternoon before she dropped me off at the airport. I had a lot of fun, but I was running on fumes by that point and even more so when I flew home. Every step of waiting for the luggage or shuttle bus to my car seemed to take forever and then I got home, hugged the cat and collapsed onto the futon.
Exhausting, but amazing trip. And with all my cool people out there, it made me wish I could live closer to there. And then I'd see the traffic and be reminded of how much I don't want to have to deal with that. I know I'm going to Chicago next year for C2E2 and I was debating skipping next year's Gally... but I don't think I can at this point. There are just too many awesome people who live out there or visit the con that I can't see myself waiting two years to see again. Considering I want to do more out there next year, which would mean I'd probably want to stay longer which means even more money, I think I'll need to start a career in robbing banks, but I think I'll have to figure out a way to make it work.