I've slimmed down some of the subjective stuff about my own con experience and have removed any mentions of anyone else, but have added quite a lot to the end of the locked version. This is mostly stuff from Joe and Jason's second talk, since I ran out of steam before getting to it yesterday.
Most of this stuff has already been posted by others, but I just like writing my own version, for my own reference.
Friday involved travelling for the most part. Many people were encountered and met, town was visited, food was consumed, and then back to the hotel for a general mass of milling around, until we gold pass holders were led out of the pit of mere steerage and into the lifeboats. Or, rather, were led through the crowd and told to go to our seats, if you prefer the less dramatic interpretation.
Then we had the "opening ceremony" - i.e. all the guests strolled on stage - in Joe and Jason's case, with a pint in hand - said a few words, and then went again. I amazed myself at quite how fangirly I felt. A vague "squee" sound might even have escaped my lips. I'm in the same room as Sheppard! my brain gibbered. The guests walked right past us on the way on and off the stage. Strangely, the person next to me in the aisle seat refused to stick her foot out and trip them up to stop them leaving. (I hasten to add that I was only joking when I suggested it.)
After that, we had the "cocktail party", where I felt rather overdressed, but didn't let that stop me from consuming free wine in abundance. We were among the first to arrive, so for a moment were in a room that just held the guests and a few fans. I would love to be able to report that I was calm, composed and collected. Instead, I stood there going, "Oh no! What if Joe comes in this direction? Oh! I think he might be looking at us" and refusing all suggestions that I sauntered over towards him.
Yes, I admit it. I was officially Pathetic. This was a theme of the weekend.
We then stood around in a rough group watching while Joe chatted to People Who Were Not Us, circling us but never reaching us, so we moved to somewhere that seemed to be on his flight path, only for him to swerve and head towards where we'd just been.
We got some of the other people first. Colin Cunningham was very nice and funny throughout the weekend, though I have no memory of what he said during the party. Peter Williams raved about the virtues of coconut milk; he's 51 and looks about 30, so he's clearly doing something right. Alexis Cruz talked to us for a while, and I swear that he'd finished and said his goodbyes and moved on before we all turned en masse and admired the rather nice rear view of Joe talking to the adjacent group. "Well, er... goodbye," we heard Alexis say, which was really embarrassing... but I am sure that he had already moved on, and had just wandered back.
We did get Joe eventually. Just as he reached us, he decided that it was too hot in the room, so he took off his shirt, revealing a black t-shirt with a skull on. (Something to do with Damien Hirst.) He shook hands with us all and asked us where we came from. I said "The Isle of Wight," and since I always gesticulate when talking, I mimed a little teeny-tiny island with my fingers. He copied me, making it even more teeny-tiny, then said something about it being small in size but big in off-shore assets. I told him he had the wrong island, and I came from the Isle of Wight, not Man. "Oh, that's the one with the pop festival," he said. (And, yes, I am well aware how fangirly I sound. "OMG! Joe knows something about my island! He loves me!")
Before we'd all managed to tell him where we came from, Jason wandered over and assaulted Joe in an intimate fashion, and dragged him away, so we lost him. *pouts* We didn't get much Jason, either, since the event was almost over by the time we got him, and his car was ready. I can't actually remember what was said in our half-minute with him.
Then it was the party, where I did a few of the easier con dances, but I'm afraid that the free wine from the party got together and decided to tell me that it was a Very Good Idea to buy wine from the bar, as well. I don't think it was.
(Colin posing with someone in costume. BTW, I did love the fact that the gym in the hotel was called Inaction. Well, Innaction, but, still...)
Saturday involved queuing. We were all in groups, according to our ticket number, and had a terrifyingly organised schedule. Reality wasn't quite so organised, since it mostly involved milling around trying to hear some steward shouting out numbers over the noise of the crowd.
The first date of the morning was the photoshoot with Joe - allegedly at 9, but he was a bit late. I was almost shaking with nerves before it. Silly, I know, since he's only human etc. etc. Just as I got to the front of the line, a group of people were let in from the other side - people with physical issues that mean they couldn't queue - so Joe kept turning, smiling, towards me, almost holding out his hand... only to find someone appearing behind him. This happened 3 or 4 times before I got my chance. I don't really like my picture with him, but most of that was caused by my bewilderment at being called "darling" and "my precious" by the photographer. (He said that to all the girls, though.)
Colin seemed to want hugs even from people who didn't want to give them, which is why my hand is very clearly being held reluctantly in place in this picture.
Jason seems even taller in real life than he looks on screen. He is also, in my opinion, a good deal prettier. I don't normally go for big and muscly, but…
The morning involved much charging up and down stairs - photos downstairs, autographs upstairs. My name usually proves the talking point. Colin thought it was Welsh (it's Scottish.) Joe looked at it as if it was Martian, and said he'd never heard it before. I told him it was Scottish for Elizabeth. "How do you say it?" he asked, and he said it back in a really silly way. "Er... not quite," I said. He then wrote, "[real name], Great name, Elizabeth." Since my badge also had "Rhymer" on, he then asked what that meant. "Online name," I said. "Lots of us hang out online so it's useful to know who we're talking to." Strangely, I chose not to say, "it's the name I use when I write stories in which you suffer hellish agony."
That Joe autograph happened during the SG-1 guys' talk, actually, since we got bumped from the proper slot before lunch. We spent literally an hour dithering about whether to miss the talk to get the autograph, or try to catch him on the Sunday. I think we'd decided to go on Sunday... but somehow we ended up going on the Saturday. We did, though, secure good seats in the hall first.
Now, the Joe and Jason talk has been written about elsewhere, and I'll probably be repeating stuff, but, hey... Also, it's possible that some of this actually was said on the Sunday, but I don't suppose it matters.
It was great having them on stage together, since they clearly get on so well, and were sparking off each other. Their body language was often angled inwards, and they were teasing each other, and Joe was often laughing helplessly, head thrown back, or even head right down towards his knees. There was a lot of innuendo from Jason implying that they were more than "just friends." (Just joking, I hasten to add, since these things can get quoted out of context online.)
They really liked living together, and only ever had one fight, though they didn't say what about. Joe said that the worst thing about Jason was that you'd send him out to get 16 year old single malt, and he came back with 12 year old. (Or something like that; I know nothing about whisky.) Jason once punched a hole in the wall, and then covered with it a Brokeback Mountain picture. Jason would stay out late and bring noisy people home, and Joe would sleep through it. Once Jason was hungover on set, and Joe got told off for leading him astray. He said he was flattered that anyone could ever think it was that way round, and said something about "these young guys – just can't keep up."
Neither of them liked the ending of Enemy at the Gate, with the balcony scene. They would have liked something more exciting, more definitely setting up the movie – e.g. Ronon captured and Sheppard setting out to find him. Joe didn't like the sudden pairings thrown at us at the end, and how Sheppard was the only one without someone. He doesn't know if the episode will set up the movie, since he's not seen the script… but he did speak throughout as if the movie was happening. The specific question about the movie wasn't asked, so we didn't get a flat out "Yes, it's on," but there was no "if" when he talked about it.
They both love having action figures, though Jason's not seen his yet. Joe likes to give his to friends, especially to famous people. "Open in case of emergency," he writes on it. He's friends with Hugh Jackman, and their sons have fights between their daddies' action figures.
They were asked what cartoon character they'd be. Joe said that Jason was like Marmaduke, and got out of his chair and leapt around for a bit. Joe said that his son said that now Atlantis is over he can do something good, like Spongebob.
They did impressions of other cast members. They acted out a scene in which Jason had mooned David from a moving car. Joe played David, sitting on his chair miming driving in an uptight fashion. Joe said he loves practical jokes, but didn't get many played on him.
Joe said he'd been offered a role only a week after SGA ended, but turned it down since it would have meant potentially seven years in Vancouver, away from his family. He's having lots of roles come up, but wants to wait until he gets the right one. He wants to play something with a humour in it.
Joe says he never googles himself and doesn't want to know what's said about himself online. It would be depressing to find that your name brought up fewer hits than it had the week before. However, he is beginning to come round to the idea of maybe having a website or blog.
A lot of Ronon's backstory comes from Jason. Joe said that Jason is great at delving into his character and his motivations.
Joe said that he loved Vegas and the chance to delve into Sheppard's character. Robert Cooper writes the best "Shepisodes" (Joe said that Cooper calls them this.) Other writers, though, don't get Sheppard in quite the same way.
Joe said that he wanted to do a table read-through of the episodes, and they did start doing them, but stopped them on the grounds that more writers than actors were turning up. "But there are more writers than actors!" he said, but they stopped them, anyway.
After the talk, Joe left. He'd worked through lunch, but left early, to go to London. (I think his family was there.) There was a quiz for a while, then a skit thing involving all the other guests. Two sets of audience members had to act out a scene, with the guests taking the parts of director etc. Colin was director, Peter was producer, talking on the phone most of the time, and Alexis was… er… casting director? Ronon played himself – an actor helping to audition his replacement. He played himself as drunk, staggering off the stage to gather up bottles of beer, or staggering off to come back with an armful of girls.
The actual play was hilarious at the time, especially when acted by an assortment of audience members. The two girls playing Ronon did nice manly swaggers on stage, and the men… Well! The play involved Sheppard having disturbing feelings of love towards a new male scientist, and admitting it to McKay, who, it seems, has something of a crush on Sheppard himself. The scientist turns out to be Weir who's faked her death to have a sex change (or something), and "he" and Sheppard confess their love in a physical scene – no, not that physical. Near the end of the second group's performance, Colin, as director, said "Now do it in song!" and the cast members gamely did so – and very well.
That was it for the actual event, so a group of us went for dinner in Nando's – which was totally packed with con people, and even some normal people, too. I, wimp that I am, was defeated by even the "mild" sauce. In the end we got very politely thrown out for staying too long, and returned to the hotel for the party, with more dancing, and gambling with play money – not that I did any.
(The view from the main con room, just because it was pretty.)
Sunday was déjà vu time – yes, more queuing. We only had a few things to clear up, so got the final autographs and one more photo. Peter had heard of my name! Jason wasn't in talkative mode for us, and wrote his name slowly and deliberately. That doesn't look like "Ronon Dex", I found myself thinking.
After lunch, we had our whumpers' group photo, on the steps just inside the hotel. We were all posing there, going "whump!" instead of "cheese!" when we saw that Joe was just outside. "We should ask him to pose!" we said, so someone brave went to get him… and no sooner had she taken two steps towards him, when he turned and fled. (Well, strolled casually away, actually, but it sounds better our way.)
Joe and Jason did another talk after lunch. I'm getting tired, since this is the second time I've written this out, due to my computer crashing first time, so I'll skip this and come back to add more later.
Now, the guest encounter. This was something you had to bid for, putting down an amount on a sheet of paper that was put in public view. When the sheet was taken down, the highest 12 bids won a 45 minute chat with the guest, all of them paying the lowest amount of the 12. Joe was clearly the person everyone wanted, and his first session was really hotly contested. I really hadn't meant to go for the second one, but… well, kind of… did, and… well… kind of… won.
The chat felt a lot more private than the talks on stage, though, so I've only put it in the locked version of the post, and even then I've not put everything. Rest assured, though, that he didn't talk about the show and didn't reveal anything behind-the-scenes about the other actors. It was mostly stuff about things like childhood memories, hobbies etc. He was really nice and genuine, though - and his clothes were rather yummy, too.
All the guests returned for the final talk, where the questions were general things like "if you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who could it be?" (Joe said "anyone who pays," and then reiterated that he was perfectly serious.)
Doing this fast since my hands are hurting…
They were asked what they wanted on their grave stone, and Jason said "I want to be cremated," and Joe said, "I want to be cremated now"
What emotion is hard to show? Jason: "Honesty." Joe: Badly written romance. Jason then asked if everyone else had done sex scenes, saying that he hadn't, and that he was a virgin.
What alien tech would they like? Joe whispered something to Jason, who then said he was going with "Joe's answer: the orgasmatron."
What did they do for Valentine's Day? Joe said he doesn't like the day, and doesn't want to be romantic just because someone else says today's the day for it. But he is taking his wife to London and Paris…
What Stargate planet would they like to go to. Joe: "that planet with lots of chicks that McKay and I went to."
If they were cast as the lead in a gay movie, who would they star opposite? Jason said Joe, with suggestive body language. (I think; I really couldn't see the stage well for this session.)
There is more, but I'm getting very tired. Writing a 3500 word report twice is not good when you've had very little sleep for three days.
Anyway… After that, odd things happened with action figures.
The one below, though, wasn't posed. This was how my free mug looked when I pulled it out of my bag a day after getting it:
Then we had a Chinese dinner, then went to a very depleted party. The bar-tender, still slightly reeling from the costume he'd seen over the weekend, said we'd all been a delight to serve. We sat on stage, and even danced on stage – though everyone else was looking in the other direction and it was dark, so that's not half so shameless as it sounds. There was much competition for "the Joe chair."
And then to bed… and then back home…
…and then to fight the internet. I can't seem to upload anything, which is why I lost the first version of this, so I'll go and try it from the laptop.
It does feel weird, though, contemplating writing stories in which Sheppard gets hurt, after I've sat so close to the actor who plays him. At the moment, the person whose face looks like that is "Joe", not "Sheppard", so even considering hurting him feels wrong. However, never fear, I'll get over it within a day or two, I'm sure, and be back to writing soon.
EDIT: Black wrist bands, okay? Sheppard wears them. (Oh! I forgot that bit, too. When asked what it means, he said it was a secret - even from himself. He did know once, but had forgotten (though I don't know how true this is.) Anyway, I was wearing a black wristband, because I'm a sad fangirl and we're not like normal people, and every single time I went to open my bag, my wristband got stuck on the Velcro fastening, so I couldn't move my hand. I'm sure there's a lot of Velcro on that uniform and tac vest, so the question is: how does Sheppard cope with the Velcro problem? Does he have a super-powered wristband that is immune? Is he suitably heroic that he can rip his hand free? Now that would have been a question to ask at the guest encounter... ;-)
EDIT 2: Random bits about Joe and Jason's stage talks that I didn't include yesterday because of tiredness. These are in no particular order, and come from more than one talk:
Jason was asked if his gun has a name, and joked "Little Sheppard." (Like I said, innuendo was the theme of the day.) He talked about how when Joe and the others were having to use real, heavy prop guns, he just aimed all over the place and pretended, since the special effect would be added later. He mimed lots of casual shooting with his finger. Then he was told how expensive each shot was to add in special effects... so shot wildly all over the place. Again, we got lots of nice miming for this.
Jason was asked about his tattoos and explained them, though I can't remember what he said - something about a family crest. He then joked that he has a tattoo of Joe on in inner thigh. Since the tattoo question was aimed at everyone, Joe jokingly made as if to raise his shirt and show one in an intimate place, but then admitted that he has no tattoos or piercings of any kind.
Joe was asked why Sheppard joined the Atlantis expedition, and totally misunderstood the question, and just recapped the first episode. He talked about how his first ever scene was in the helicopter "with MacGyver", and how he did something like handing over a rubber band and paperclip for him to fix the helicopter with, and how he got a withering look for being so unoriginal.
Joe was asked about singing the Scooby Doo theme tune in Thoughtcrimes, and said that it was his idea. The script had called for him to be thinking of something meaningful - well, job fears, anyway - and Joe said that whenever his wife asks what he's thinking, it's usually something inane, like "mmm, cheeseburger" (I can't remember if this was exactly what he said, but it was certainly something food related.) So he said "what if I have some jingle caught in my head, or Scooby Doo, or something." They went with it... but later found that they had to pay a huge amount for the rights to use it. He also said that it was a much more complicated tune to sing that you'd expect.
I can't remember what the question was, but Joe talked about acting with Hermiod, and how much he disliked acted opposite a puppet. He also said that it was his idea that Sheppard eyes Hermiod suspiciously, on the grounds that Sheppard's just a regular guy who's not been in space for too long, and he wanted Sheppard to have more moments in which he acted with incredulity to the things he was seeing.
They were asked how they cope with fame, and both said how nice it is to be recognised for their work and to know that people out there are responding to what they're doing. However, Joe said that he can't imagine how the A-listers cope, and said he took a famous woman (he didn't name her) out to dinner, and it was truly horrible, with people saying awful things hoping to prompt an angry reaction, which they would then have on film. Listening to them say awful things to his dining companion, he really wanted to confront them, but she said that this was just what they wanted him to do.
In the question session with all guests at the end, Joe didn't answer as many of the questions as the others. He really didn't seem to like the hypothetical type question. "Do they come from journalism 101?" he asked.
They were asked what they would most miss about Stargate, and Peter Williams said that the fans will make sure that they never truly leave Stargate. Joe said "living with Jason," and Jason patted his knee, but Joe pulled away, and also pulled away from a hug.
They were asked about their best and worst con experience, and Colin told a story about how he was just leaving a con and called out to a fan to ask if she'd had a good time, and received a huge, foul-mouthed tirade about how he didn't really care. Alexis talked about being one of many guests at a con that had no-one in the audience. I don't think Joe and Jason answered this question, but they had talked previously about how overwhelming it was to do their first Comic Con. Joe did it only a week after SGA started airing, and was overwhelmed by the size of the audience.
At some point, Joe was talking about getting the rights to use products. I really can't remember what prompted this, but it led him to talk about getting Budweiser in the scene with McKay in The Shrine. An official approach had failed, so Joe phoned them up and said, "Do you want to be the first beer in space?"
(Abrupt ending, I know. I'm adding things as and when I remember them.)
EDIT3: Joe was asked if Vegas had inspired him to do a cop show, and he said that he'd been asked to do a guest role in NCIS, but had turned it down. It seemed as if he was saying that he was hoping to get a chance to be in the planned spin-off, but someone else has got that role now.
He was asked about Johnny Cash, and said that he is indeed a big fan. As with the beer, they asked the Johnny Cash Estate if they wanted to be the first country singer in space.
Joe told about flying home from Britain with Chris Judge, and getting offered a massage on the flight. Chris kept asking to have the massage "on my ass," and Joe had to explain to them that he was just joking. Then he said that Chris wouldn't like him telling the story, but it was okay, because he wasn't going to be in Vancouver for a while. The audience reminded him that he was due to speak at a con in a month. "Oh, shit," he said.
Joe and Jason talked about doing commentaries on the DVDs, and they said that they hadn't been asked for a while, and it was all writers. Joe did one once, but barely got a chance to say anything. Jason did say that he'd done one/is doing one on Broken Ties, though.
(More as and when I remember it.)
EDIT3: Joe said how much he hated the Daedalus always showing up to save the day and beam them out of difficulties. He called it a Deus Ex Machina, and said it would be far better if they had to get themselves out of trouble themselves.
When asked what they most admired about their characters, they actually answered what they admired about the other character. Joe said "Ronon's liver. It can re-enter orbit." Ronon said "Sheppard's sense of humour and his spiky hair." Joe then, more seriously, said he loves the sense of loyalty all the characters have to each other.
When asked what sort of character they would love to play, Joe did say that he'd just come up with an idea, but didn't say more. (He did say more in the first guest encounter, though.) He also said he'd love to play something so unrecognisable that no-one would realise it was him until the end, and would then have to go back and rewatch it.