It's taken me quite a while longer than I'd planned to finish up this particular post. The 2.14 people out there who were waiting for it...please accept my apologies.
Saturday morning didn't start as early as I'd planned. The long Friday followed by the late night Magic tournament apparently took a greater toll on me than I'd anticipated; I slept through my alarm AND my brunch appointment with Jason and William. I believe William did too, so we both owe Jason an apology...likely by means of paying for breakfast another day. Now if only Jason actually had TIME to meet us these days.
Waking up late actually ended up to be a positive thing, as I missed the long line ups at the door, as well as being just early enough to not get locked out by the fire marshals. I strolled into the convention center with no line up, arriving just in time to make it to the next TNG panel with Wil Wheaton, Brent Spiner and Levar Burton. The panel was a lot of fun and you could see how much these guys like each other. The humor and jokes were all over the place but there were still some good questions asked by the audience members. I also found out about a few projects they were working on that I wasn't aware of previously.
Following the panel I headed off for the only autograph session I was actually willing to pay money for: Stan Lee. When I arrived in that area shortly after 2 (for a 3pm session) the line was already well exceeding the space they'd allocated in front of Stan's booth. I didn't end up getting through the line until quite a bit after 4, although the nice couple waiting in line behind me made the wait as decent as it could be.
I think the autographs were really over sold, which weren't helped by the fact that Stan had apparently missed and been late for two of the previous signing sessions. He was signing items so madly that he wasn't able to even really look up or even exchange pleasantries with any of us folks in line. I was quite disappointed not even to be able to shake his hand or say hello after having stood in line, and having paid for the privilege to do so, for so long. The person that took my book from me was also not in my good graces...showing very little care for it. I did make a point of asking them to be careful, but it shouldn't have been necessary, as it was a comic book convention after all.
After the signing I had my signature authorized so I have a nice little piece of paper saying it is real. Yay. I guess.
Since the signing line had taken so long I was a few minutes late for the panel with Lance Henriksen, but I was able to get a good seat. The panel with him only cemented my impression from the previous day. He really is a genuinely nice guy and is definitely someone I'd love to sit and chat at length with. Apparently they had screened one of his latest movies the night before, but I hadn't known about that. I think in retrospect I'd have FAR rather attended that than the late-night MtG pre-release event!
After a little more shopping around Will and I headed off to the big event of the show: Star Trek TNG Expo-sed.
There was a lot of hoopla around this event, and it was an extra ticket purchase outside of the weekend passes we had purchased. I was able to get some of the added-at-the-last-minute overflow seats for just over $80 (for the pair), and I have to say they were actually really good seats. We were a little behind / to the right of the stage, but there were plenty of monitors and we could see everything really well.
Without getting into verbose details, the show was really great! It was a lot of fun being there for the whole thing and seeing the whole cast interact with each other. Will and I had a great time, even if we did have to spend a fair amount of energy ignoring a girl next to me who did not have the firmest grasp on reality.
Sunday proved a nice finish to a great weekend. Will and I headed down early to help Webber out at the gaming area, but I was able to get some time to go pick up a good number of back issues too. I filled some pretty large gaps in my original Marvel GIJoe and Transformer series, and was able to attend three more panels. The Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn panel was fun, but Dorn was a little bit on the not-interested side. He spent most of his time taking photos while Marina tried to get him to focus. Good banter for the most part.
The final two panels I'll not get into details about but they were excellent. Getting to hear Stan Lee talk for an hour almost made up for the excruciatingly long wait the day before, and Patrick Stewart was very interesting. For a fellow who made his name in a sci-fi TV series, he simply loves the theatre and you can tell it is a huge cornerstone of his life and profession.
I'm not sure how the organizers can top this year, at least for me. But hopefully they'll try!