There were a whole lot of good stories that came in for this one, for which I asked you to describe your best or worst convention experiences. I recommend reading them all to learn a lot more about the real lives of the people here - and in some cases, the TMI and unreal lives, all in good fun.
There were so many that I had to be pretty ruthless about pruning them down, so there aren't a lot of honorable-mention finalists on this one - I'll just add that I enjoyed reading every one. True or not, they all gave me some sense of who the writer is as a human being.
Many of you had celebrity encounters. My favorites were from kegs7...
My best, and worse moment was when, after over hearing him tell my friend that he "didn't do poses" during a photograph with the stars session I went up to Sir Patrick Stewart and said, " I know you don't do poses, but can I get a handshake?" to which he replied, "yes! But go gently, as my hand is still sore from signing all those autographs." My mind went into overdrive..."Huzzah! I would, literally, have Sir Patrick Stewart in the palm of my hand. In his weakened state, I could demand he give me the hand of his daughter Queen Guinevere! I could ask, "Where's your muad'dib now? In his weakened state I could bring him to his knees. I could then ask him the question I have wanted to ask him for years... "There are how many lights??" All these thoughts were quickly replaced with "Holy crap! I'm shaking the hands of Sir Patrick Stewart"
Best. Moment. Ever.
Last year was my first SDCC since my first in 1999 (a time when you could walk up to the door and buy tickets!). It was awesomely overwhelming. I was there for the whole thing and I ran into several celbs including Mark Hamil (who is still awesome - see Sushi Girl - but is not aging well) and Jamie Hyneman from Mysthbusters. However my favorite moment came at the very end of the con, literally - they were kicking us off the main floor and closing the doors. I was taking pics of people modeling their awesome costumes, when I noticed none other than astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson standing under an angled support, all by himself.
I decided to go say hi. He is so amazingly approachable! I greeted him and said I just wanted to let him know how much I enjoy listing to his podcasts and how his personality is helping push a pro-science agenda nationwide and keeping young people engaged and interested. He thanked me asked me a few questions and basically we just started talking about awesome stuff...like starships (he had participated in the starship smack-down that weekend - watch it on youtube; its magical) and W00tstock and other things.
Finally a couple other people noticed him and started coming up and asking for pictures, and he said yes to them, but turned to me first and asked if I wanted one before more people started lining up. So I had some stranger take a pic on my phone and stepped aside. After two other photos with others, he must have noticed me looking at my phone in dismay, cause he inquired if it came out and I said not really but it's fine (there were others waiting), but he said "thats an iPhone right?" and grabs my phone, switches to the photo app, switches to the front-facing camera, puts his arm around me, holds out the phone and clicks a couple pics. One came out perfectly!
To say that I was elated, doesn't do justice to how I felt that day. NDGT was amazing to meet...I can't even write about it without a huge grin.
So thats my story. If I win, I'd love the Transformers set first, then Evil Dead. Thanks!
I was a wide eyed little cherub child. Again at FanExpo canada, but one of it's earliest years. With my creative duo parents.
For whatever reason, a day full of running around and looking at things managed to tire me out, so I ended up begging my mother for some 6$ hot dogs I craved so much. Eventually, she gave in, and took me out to go get some refreshments. I picked out my 4$ can of soda and hot dog, and began to rush back to my father's table to sit and happily eat in front of fanboys in line. Me, being a small child, gave approximately zero shits about anyone in my way, because I had food and places to go. Had my mother a leash she'd be keeping me on it.
When I come out of the elevator, I bump into a man. He snorts, looks at my food and says "Oh, thanks, were you bringing that to me young man?" My mother is laughing like crazy and grinning and I have no idea why. At the time I thought she just thought this guy was REALLY funny.
As we were walking back to the booth, she leans in and tells me "You know who that was right?"
No, of course I don't mom. I'm a dumb kid.
"That was Batman. That was Adam West."
I nearly spilled hotdog all over Adam West.
I could've covered him in ketchup.
Some of you were the guests, had had some equally amazing encounters. Like Diddy_Mao:
In Utah we had (still have?) a local Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention known as Def-Con it was terribly managed and if I'm being perfectly honest I'm surprised is lasted as long as it did.
Toward the mid to late 90's when the Anime scene had started getting a bit of traction, Def-Con begrudgingly added some panels to meet the interest of the local anime fans.
Due to a combination of qualifications which included
A. Having a few friends on staff.
B. A known reputation for being an insufferable know-it-all about animation history.
C. Being a warm body willing to work for free con access.
I ended up being the one running the "History of Anime" panel. It was an easy enough gig. Just fill 15 to 20 minutes on the subject, allow for a 10-15 minute Q&A session, speak from the diaphragm and enunciate to the back row.
I discuss Momotaro's god Blessed Sea Warriors, explain how the post WWII economy in Japan led to animation being a predominant source of entertainment due to it's relatively low costs, go into the subsequent symbiotic relationship between American and Japanese pop culture...blah blah blah...the whole thing goes off without a hitch.
Until the QA session. After answering a few questions from the audience I call on a young woman who has been patiently trying to get my attention.
What follows is a brief summary of the worst conversation I've ever had in my life.
Her: What is your opinion on parallel universes and their effect on Anime?
Me: (Foolishly assuming she was keeping on topic) I don't know that it has any more or less influence on Anime as a storytelling medium. It's certainly been a popular seed for science fiction and fantasy for years.
Her: No I mean like, how difficult would it be to access an alternate dimension where the characters that exist in the shows live?
Me: I'll...um...I'll have to admit a certain degree of...agnosticism for lack of a better word regarding the existence of such a plane of existence.
Her: Because I'm psychically linked with Sephiroth and I want to bring him over here so that I can prove to my friends that he's my husband.
Audeince: *uncomfortable murmuring*
Her: (Interrupting) I just wanted to know I guess, if there was any history of Anime creators discussing having accessed the worlds where they draw their creations from.
This is where a smarter man than myself could have discussed the scientific possibility of alternate universes, or a wittier man than myself would have said something to diffuse the tension.
Sadly all I could muster was blurting out "I don't know how to respond to any of what you just said my time is up enjoy the convention I'll be walking the floor if anyone wants to talk further gotta go bye!"
Having blurted all of that out I made the fastest and most graceful exit that I could muster without simply sprinting from the room.
So yeah... my first experience with "crazy fans" was me trapped in a room in front of an audience and me dealing with it in the least graceful way possible.
So I'll let you decide if this was the best/worst con...I was working for a friend who owned an anime shop. I told him I would help him at his booth at Anime Expo one year. Well our placement sucked as it was right across the way from Bandai's video game booth. Every 30 min. they held competitions on some .Hack//sign race game. Initially we thought this would drive up business since people came by so often. People came and no one purchased anything and just took up space in our booth and stole things. By end of day 1 we were out of our head with all the noise heft\smell that day 2 came about and I smuggled in a fake hollowed out book filled with hard booze. I was dressed as a minister and called it my bible. By the end of day 2 I was so blitzed that I didn't care about the noise and problems. Day 3 came about and I knew I wasn't going to be able to drink my day away. I looked at our table and took a box of http://www.castavision.com/PikachuAlarmKeychain1b.jpg Pikachu rape alarm key chains. Every time they would start a race event I would pull the pin on one of these bad boys and people would scatter. Soon after I started treating them like grenades. Pulling the pin and throwing them into trash cans and into canopies on top of booths around Bandai. At the end no one from bandai's booth knew that we did anything. They came over and told us how sorry they were about people acting up near our booth. They then purchased about $300 worth of stuff, purchased pizza and beer for me and the other guys. We felt bad so we gave them some pulled pins. telling them that if they found any of those "damned" rape alarms that putting a pin back in would make it stop. But for some reason no more alarms went off. Not likely to get me a win, but I would rather not lie instead of winning
Finally, dweber77 has a fictional account of the con from heaven...
I have yet to make it to a Con actually. I do plan on going to Dragon*Con one day and maybe if lucky SDCC as well, but only time will tell.
But here is my picture of them in my imagination. First when I walk in there is a booth where I drop off my wife for an hour and when I come back she is transformed into a scantily clad super heroine vixen. Way to start the fantasy off.
Then as we roam the floor there are tons of gorgeous women to admire and she now hits on all of them. The downfall is some women dropped their husbands off at a different booth and they are all transformed into Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. My wife is now entranced by them all... F**K. At that point I deal with my fate and shuffle off to a few panels and wait in really long lines for them. It turns out the line is just waiting for your turn to pee into a bottle. But then I find the right line for the Firefly panel, SCORE! I wait and wait and wait and I am the last person to get let in. At this point I see the cast on stage and my wife sitting in Nathan Fillion's lap. SERIOUSLY!?
After the panel I trudge off to the vendor floor and I score all the swag that I could possibly want, it finally seems to be my lucky day! Yay swag and exclusives galore, it all seems like it might be worth it. I am able to get a few autographs that I was hunting for as well. At that point realizing that I have lost my wife to the life of a hot cos-player I begin my way out of the convention. I am proud but sad at the same time, until off in the distance I see my wife no longer in the outfit. She runs over and asks where I was all day. I accuse her of all her debauchery and she says there was no hot cos-play transformation booth. And then I realize that the other girl was a hooker I hired while I was all cocked up the night before.
All in all a good run.
...while SundownMotel attended a legendary con from hell.
I attended the ill-fated (possibly cursed) Wrestle Fan Fest at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in October of 2007. It was looking bad from the moment we showed up, as we arrived and were told that Kurt Angle, among others, had canceled and that there would be no refund for the photo ops that my friend and I had pre-purchased. When we suggested that this was a policy that bordered on criminal, the man running the autograph ticket booth said "WHAT ARE YA GONNA DO? YOU'RE WRESTLING FANS. YOU KNOW WRESTLERS CANCEL ALL THE TIME! DAT'S DA WRASTLIN' BIZNESS!" The guy also made a "world's tiniest violin" motion at us, by the way.
To make up for not giving us our money back, he offered us tickets to that night's MMA pay-per-view that the event was putting on. We declined. Which is a good thing, because a few hours later, the athletic commissioner showed up and wouldn't sanction the event, since no one even bothered to bring a scale to weigh the fighters (which is sort of important). The whole event and PPV was canceled about an hour before it was supposed to start.
We asked when the Great Muta would be signing, since we had also pre-purchased a photo op with him. The guy looked at his tickets and said "Oh, these say Friday." (It was Saturday when we were there.) "They may not honor these."
"Uh; isn't 'they' just 'you?'"
"Yeah, I guess."
Eventually, it turned out that, although the website and all promotional materials for the event said that Muta would be there on Saturday, no one actually working the event had any idea what wrestlers were meant to attend on that day or when they might be showing up. Further, no one working the event had any schedule of any kind to refer to or to offer the attendees. "You gotta just watch 'Autograph Alley' behind me and see who shows up. Then you can say who you want to meet and I can sell you a ticket."
Things steadily went downhill from there, as both legendary and independent wrestlers complained that they had not been paid and that the organizer of the event was nowhere to be seen after many of them had flown themselves cross-country. It got worse for them, as fans began walking up to them with tickets, rather than money. Many of the wrestlers gave a "WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THIS?!" look. Apparently no one informed them that they wouldn't be receiving money directly (as is normal) and would instead be relying on the guy running the autograph ticket booth to give them a cut of money later.
(It was later reported that the organizer of the event stopped by a few times that day to dash in, grab all the money from the autograph ticket cash box, and later buy a plane ticket out of town.)
Meanwhile, we got our ears talked off by Wrestling Superstar Virgil, who kept trying to sign 8x10s and tell us we owed him $25 for it. He also suggested (based on my friend's T-shirt) that the "original" Great Muta had died of AIDs, and had since been replaced by someone "younger and more agile." (This is incorrect. Every part of it.) Virgil also had a new banner that said "THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN TED DIBIASE & VIRGIL." even though the Million Dollar Man was all the way across the convention hall floor and the two never spoke or even acknowledged one another all day.
The last thing that happened that day was "Rowdy" Roddy Piper doing photo ops and autographs. By this time, the guy running the ticket booth and everyone else supposedly associated with the event (security, officials, anyone wearing a lanyard) had just left. The autograph ticket booth and 8x10 table was just left there, so everyone remaining at the event -- hundreds of people -- grabbed Piper tickets and 8x10s and just waited in one massive line for him. To his credit, he stayed hours after he was supposed to be gone and signed and took pictures and spent big chunks of time just talking to people and being amazing. It was pretty much the one thing that went right.
(Other things that happened at that event: Don Frye got the shit beaten out of him by the promoter's bodyguards at his hotel; nobody remembered to pick up Nikolai Volkoff at the airport; Lex Luger HAD A STROKE AT HIS HOTEL.)
Also, David Faustino of all people no-showed the event. That's probably the worst part.
Winners next page...