definately be looking for something
like this. If I find it have Tuna send
my lap top and I will just work from
England. That'd be ok
This trip was a true mixture of pleasure and pain from the beginning.
Wednesday March 8
Slept late so got started for Dallas late. Arrived in the late afternoon and was greeted by Kathy, Robby and Martha and her kids Summer and Derek. Kathy and I talked about the con and she had brought some dvdís and stuff to watch. I also got to see pictures of her cats. We tried to order pizza but this proved pretty much impossible. So we went out. After getting Martha all packed and her children delivered to their father, we watched some highlander episodes and also a dvd of an old convention so Martha would have an idea of what to expect. I think Martha and Kathy stayed up all night and I got about 3 hours of sleep.
Thursday March 9
Immediately upon getting on the overseas flight in Houston we realized we were sitting in the row with the smelliest individual in the world. I am serious this person smelled so bad you could smell him from down the isle. The staff actually wanted him off the plane but the door had been closed and once that happens, it is too late, even if you are still at the gate. Nothing was said to the individual but the stewards were spritzing the back of his seat every time they walked by. I was a little nauseous from it so they gave me a coffee pouch to keep in my lap to cut the smell. I also put some scented oil in my hair to give me another smell. The flight was totally full so they could not move us. They did however give us free booze, so we had a few cocktails and waited for our noses to become accustomed to the smell. Look, he was a nice person, was chatting with me about Johnny Cash, very pleasant individual but he just stank. When I asked if we could be moved and they told me they were trying to get him off the plane I felt really bad for him. Still, if you are going to fly, hit a bathroom and at least do the armpits.
Friday March 10
We land! We may be a little tipsy from the free drinks, you always have an extra one when itís free; but we are in England and it is all ok. We catch a train to London and find Kings Cross. Of course I have neglected to bring Nicís picture and for some reason I think she looks like someone else so we just sort of meander about. Nic finds us and all it well. Now we just need to locate Bea and her husband. We decide once on the train, we will go look for her. Alas , she finds us first and we get to look at Nicís photos from Vancouver and some other stuff. We talk about what we will have autographed and how Nic plans to try and get the David Abramowitz script. I have no plans to participate in the auction, we all know how that turned out. We arrive, find the hotel, dump the bags and head for the bar for the meet and greet. Once there we hooked up with Ruth, Maristo, and Alisha!....man I wish I could keep names straight, After a walk about Bea joined us also. David had a film crew and was interviewing folks for a documentary for a box set or something they are releasing later for Highlander. Martha being wise, declined due to jet lag and opted to be filmed later, I having had a few more drinks am all set for my close up. I am not even going to think about what that turned out like, I was razzing David about how The Zone episode did not bother me. All the episodes were different and had value in my opinion. I liked that you never knew who would get whacked or what they would try to do with the story and the characters next. We all had a good time then we headed off to eat some Chinese food. It was a buffet and they actually had a sign that said we will charge you extra if you take more than you can eat. The phrase take all you want but want all that you take ran thru my head the entire meal. As I was just recovering from a whole in my esophagus I did not take very much, I had just started back on solid foods and knew I could not eat much. After dinner Martha went back to the hotel to get some sleep and I headed to a local pub with the others. We talked about what we hoped to see at this con and heard tales about the one down under last year.
Saturday March 11
Since we did not get a schedule the day before in our bags at registration we were not sure when we should catch the shuttle but we caught one just as it was about to pull away. I thoroughly enjoyed the panels but canít really tell you a lot of what was said. Peter talked about how it was a money decision to kill off his character in SG1, Adrian talked about wanting to do more live theater, and they both talked about the source filming. Mon did some fantastic vids for us and I hope they are available later, they were great. The memorial for cast and fans of highlander who have passed away, and the pinky and the brain one were my favorites. Thank you mon! When they were showing a clip from the horsemen shows they guests laid down on the stage to watch. Marcus (Caspion) pulled the table cloth off of their drinks table and wrapped up in it with Richard (Silas). Very funny when you think of how psychotic their characters were. Being smokers, Martha and I ran into Richard in the smoking area outside the armory ( the con was held at the armory in Leeds) and over the next couple of days we spoke together a lot and got along splendidly. Richard is not one of the guests that I was really excited to meet before but he was the best! He is such a great man. I really enjoyed our conversations both serious topics and also the down right silly ones. He is one of the most generous and kind hearted people you could meet. We were in the first autograph session and Martha was a little further up in line than myself. The plan was she would take pictures of me and I would take pictures of her. That did not really work on my end , I could not get a good shot. However between her and Richard, they all seemed to be expecting me when I stood before each of them to get my autographs. David wrote something very sweet and everyone was very friendly. We also got to see a sneak peak at the new movie the source. I think I will love it and hate it which is ok. I do not expect Duncan and his merry band to go on forever but I will hate to loose my favorites, and I think I will. Bill panzer talked about some of the business decisions that go into this type of deal and I found that interesting.
That night the cabaret was great. Peter, Marcus, and Richard were all very out and about and approachable, and we had a chance to speak with them. I do wish that Adrian had been more inclined to come around and say hello. As luck would have it we were at the table right next to the guest and got to chat with everyone else.The music by Richard and Marcus and Marcusí best friend also a Nick I think, was wonderful. Richard and I spoke about friends affected by the tsunami, Katrina, and Rita. We also talked about how when I got home SXSW would be in full swing for the music portion, the film part was the week I was gone. Maybe I will see them here for the next one, that would be great. Adrianís pantomime about airport security was very funny. Later at the auction Martha decided it would have been funny for Adrian to auction off the luggage or maybe the pants from his skit. Since someone had just sold an air guitar on ebay I thought it was a solid idea. Marcusí girlfriend, no I do not know her nameÖ., also performed with him, it was all very good. I also really enjoyed Peterís reading from Pete Townsendís book and David singing memories. Some people did not enjoy the meal but I thought it was excellent. Richard mentioned he thought I looked cold and being a Texan in a short skirt in Leeds I agreed it was a little nippy. He later thru his big fuzzy pullover at me so I was pretty toasty the rest of the evening, during the show and back at the bar. I returned it to him the next day at the armory.
Having given up on the provided transportation, the people to coach ratio was just too far off; Martha and I cabbed over to the armory. Once again I enjoyed the panels but cannot tell you to much about who said what. Valentine Pelka called and spoke to us over the phone, we also saw a video interview and some of his play which looks really good. I think that was on SundayÖ. One of the liveliest Q&A sessions was the designer of the new video game was asking questions about how we thought it should work and what they were thinking of doing. It sounds like it should be a good game, but I am not much of a gamer of that type, I like puzzle and mystery games so I may not be good source on that one. Then came the auction. I should have left the room. Although I love my sword and I had a blast with the camera. I am very pleased with the autograph on the sword. All of the other autographs I have seen from Adrian have said Peace Adrian Paul, this one says Adrian Paul the highlander, Itís different and I like that. Do Not start emailing me how you all have that one, let me have my joy, donít be a buzz kill! I gave Richard back his coat, and drug the sword back to the hotel. Later we hooked up at the Bar with Richard, some of his peeps, John, maristo, Nic, and one of the guys who performed with the Scottish rite on the cruise in 1998. I also was on that cruise. I have just been to Scotland and he is from there so we talked about that for a while. Long story short, No sleep that night. I caught about a 20 minute cat nap. It was great to just hang out and relax with new friends. Fun was had, bad jokes were told. Then it was time to try and ship the sword home. Many phone calls and a cab ride to the post office and back laterÖit was proved that you cannot ship a sword from England. You can ship them in but not out. We had to drag that freaking box all over England, on and off a dozen trains, in cabs, up narrow stairs. The only regret is if I had known this, we would not have wasted half a day trying and would not have screwed up our travel schedule. Due to the lack of direct or high speed trains at the time of our departure, we did not see a lot of the stuff we had thought we would. The next 3 days were pretty scarce on sleep and food. Lessons learned, We had 2 objectives on this trip and we did manage to pull those off so, successful journey as far as I am concerned.
Wednesday March 15
We got into London late the night before. The next morning we got up and headed to the express train to Gatwick. Once there we check the freaking box, (we referred to it only as the box so as not to attach any negative feelings to the claymore itself) . This proved easy enough. Then we had our first 'not off the train cart' meal in a couple of days. After a quick stop for gifts for those back home, we were on the plane and flying home. We had a row to ourselves this timeÖcoincidence? I think not.
Thursday March 16
It was the glorious day of my birth. Kathy came over to visit and look at pictures, I had to have Peterís developed right away, and also the digital shots. We just hung out all day and then Robby took us all out to dinner. THANK YOU ROBBY! It was a wonderful Italian place.
Friday March 17
Drove home! The traffic in Austin was madness as SXSW and St. Patrick's day celebrations were in full swing but I made it home and had margarita Friday with my neighbor Vicki and my dog sitter Nona. Thanx Nona for taking such great care of Freya.
Well, thatís it. Now I am back at work and enjoying being home again.