Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Good night, Dolly, and farewell

Yesterday we said goodbye to our old dog, Dolly, at 11 and a half years old. In late June she was diagnosed with lymphoma, and the vet gave her 2-to-3 months to live.

The tough old thing stuck it out for five and half.

Dolly wasn't anything fancy. She was a half-Aussie, half-BC, ranch bred dog of no particular lineage, and in those days, we didn't know a thing about formal cowdog training. What a dog naturally had is what we took to work, and that was all.

But if we had a bull sulking in a bog or a cow up on the hill, we could tell her, "Git 'em up!" and by golly, they'd be got. She and her sister, Della, were the one-two punch that saved us and our horses a lot of extra work. When we hired on packing mules for guide/outfitter services, Dolly put her energies to patrolling squeakies up on the rock slides or chasing trout in the shallows, and sniffing out the secret ways of mountain critters.

She was butch, aloof, and independent, and she'd come to us for affection if and when it suited her. If you came to our gate, while the rest of the pack clamored and yelled, she'd stand back and measure you with a wolfish, opaque stare that just said, "Hmm...." One time she fell out of my pickup truck going 60 miles per hour - *broke* her chain whilst lunging at a semi going the other way. But she suffered nothing more than bruises and a bitten tongue. Looking through photos last night, we found it grimly amusing to see how many times we caught her with one of those plastic "satellite dish" vet collars around her neck. But going easy on herself never once crossed her mind.

At the vet's, we asked the doc to come out and administer the sedative in our truck, rather than subject Dolly to the scariness of the vet's office. As the drug began to take hold and consciousness faded, Dolly's last overt act was to growl and snap at her sister for crowding too close. Hardass right up to the bitter end. That's our girl.

Dolly never set foot on a trial field, or saw the sense in a half-mile outrun. (Put the spurs to that nag, Mom, and come on, help me out.) She had no square flanks and no finesse and nothing you'd call style. Her favorite approach was straight-on at thirty miles per hour.

She was none of those things to which men refer when they speak of the venerable, the great. But to those of us she leaves behind, Dolly was a good ol' dog.

That'll do, Dolly, good girl. Time for you to go on Home.


Me and the Pack

Dolly - 20 March 1997 - 8 December 2008


Sunday, October 19, 2008

EyeCon2 Day 3

Morning began a bit early for those wanting photo ops, as we had to be looking human, alert, and hopefully devoid of red eyes or pillow face, lol, by about 9:30 a.m. Today was the Big Day for the Big Guy, and people appeared in droves, seemingly pouring from the woodwork to fill the halls and lobby. Heh, it looked a bit like someone had chummed the water and feeding time was near ... ;-)

I had tickets for both the Hunters op with Jared & Jim and Jared by himself, but I thought it would be fun if Karina would share it with me. Maybe I'm a coward who's afraid of photo ops alone, but also she's just such a neat lady that I wanted to share something EyeCon-special. LOL, when I asked her, she stared at me as if I'd suggested standing in front of an oncoming truck, but ... she caved. *G* For which I am grateful, because it gave me more reasons to hang out with her, despite being the old cougar with the cool younger chick. :-)

They were trying like heck to be organized and timely, with all the lines for the different photo ops situated just so down all one side of the hallway and back up again. Things progressed quicker than I expected, yet somehow the photo ops themselves didn't strike me as overly rushed. The Hunters op was fun, Jim recognizing us from the weekend and Jared greeting us with a bright and chirpy, "Hey, hi guys!" I don't know whether he recalled my face from last EyeCon, or if he just likes to greet everyone with such familiar cheer, but whatever, it made me smile. Karina he definitely knows, since she met with him at the Dallas con. ;-)

Anywho, we smooshed together for a nice squeeze, Karina startled that she somehow ended up sandwiched in the middle, lol. I'll say again that Jared is just very nice to smoosh! He's sooo narrow about the waist, but if you look up, (and up!!) those muscular shoulders are as broad as *two* of me! Jared was cute, too, when I called him "hon" in passing and he got all happy about it. LOL, maybe that's a Texas thing.

Then with cheery thanks, we scooted off again to resume the line for the Jared single ops. Again, Karina was hesitant about doing another photo op, and given her association with Truckzilla and being known to Jared for it, I don't doubt she felt kinda dorky about getting her picture taken with him. ;-) But yanno, he's a great guy and he's *glad* she has Zilla, so why not enjoy the moment and have a little fun? So says I to myself, and she didn't say no! *g*

Thus, we went through the line again, during which we were treated to the diabetic-coma-inducing sweetness of Jared with a young couple's small baby. I don't know if they even intended for *Jared* to hold the baby for the photo, but he scooped that little tyke right out of her mama's arms, cradled her in those big paws, and made duck lips and cooing noises whilst the wee one stuck her fingers up his nose, LOL! I think my ovaries asploded into utter goo. ;-) When the picture was done, Jared didn't seem to want to give the baby up, still holding her and grinning like a wonderful dork, and we all had to go, "awwww." Finally he handed the little one back to her momma, and wrapped the mom in a gigantic squishy hug. :-)

ETA: I've learned since that the parents are such SPN fans that they named the baby girl Sam, after Sam Winchester. They told Jared this, so the shmoop-fest was his reaction. Awwww!

When it came our turn, Jared greeted us once more with that patented Padalecki charm. I have to say that the camera really doesn't do him justice, and this time ... yeah, this time I noticed just how TALL he really is! Anyway, we scrunched together and Froggy snapped, but for whatever reason, Jared declared that shot wasn't right. I really have no idea why, but he wanted to do over, so we stood there all cozy-like while Froggy reset the camera and fired again. LOL, having later seen both frames, I've no clue why Jared felt something was wrong with the first, but hey, we weren't gonna complain about the holdup. ;-) He and Karina then chatted briefly about cars (and I got the interesting sense that Jared was calling the shots on the delays) while I enjoyed just hangin' there for a moment, being relaxed with Jared.

Now, this may sound like dorkitude of the ninetieth power, but I gotta wonder if those moments of interaction aren't a treat for Jared, as well. You know? A few seconds here and there to see, and be seen, as an actual human being? Maybe Chad's movie made me hyper sensitive about some things, but I found myself viewing pretty much all of Jared's time here through a new and entirely different lens. After that, we thanked him, got another big smile, and took our leave.

Then while Karina went off in search of food and a quiet place to make some calls, I queued up for the Nicki Aycox photo op. She is *such* an adorable little thing! When I got up there, she had put on this sort of oversized tweed cap that looked indecently cute on her, and she wore the most dazzling smile you ever saw. Upon seeing that, I went ahead with an idea I had, and asked if, since she had been the demon, we could sort of cop an attitude for the camera. With girlish glee, she declared, "Oh, I have *just* the pose!" and snapped into instant!vamp. LOL, I could barely keep a straight face, but I pasted on my best smirk, and we gave the camera hell, and *click*, there we had it. I thanked her and told her how glad I was that she came, and she sent me on my way with such a smile that I felt like I'd won a blue ribbon.

Yeah. I might have a slight girl crush, there. *G*

When it came time for Jared to do his Q&A, they lined us up by badge numbers and the line wrapped around the mezzanine. So, let's see where to start ... First of all, I'd heard of a gal who had commissioned a specially made Supernatural Chess Set as a gift for Jared Padalecki. I had thought, you know, chess set. Well, she meant CHESS SET! The thing was like 3 feet across with hand-carved figures between 3 and 6 inches tall, every piece hand made. The black pieces are all evil SPN characters - including a Yellow Eyed Demon piece that really had yellow eyes - while the white were Sam and Dean and assorted Good Things, including the Impala as I think a Knight. She had designed the board herself, complete with a gigantic pentagram painted in the middle.

Anyhow, Jared had no sooner arrived to his usual torrent of screams and cheers, when the MC, our wonderful Dizzy, directed him to the chess set. It rested on a couple chairs near the door, and I swear Jared's eyes just popped. LOL, he loped over to the thing like a gigantic great kid, and while the girl shyly told him about it, he bent over and peered at it from first this angle and that, clearly and utterly astounded. He hugged her and thanked her with a boyish look of glee, then went *back* to ogling the set once more. LOL, Dizzy had to remind him there was another reason for him being here. *G*

But wait. Fandom was not done with Jared, no sir. Next Dizzy called up Becky, aka janglyjewels, who as many fans know had headed up a charity drive for The Animal Rescue Site, gathering funds from fans to the tune of $5,000!! The endeavor began as a fandom project wherein Becky collected photos of fans with Jared, to be compiled and printed as a book. People volunteered to help with printing, she ended up with more money than the book needed, and so she decided to donate the excess to The Animal Rescue Site in Jared's name. And then? The money REALLY began to come in. To the tune of five big ones.

So, here comes Becky with her arms full of book, oversize check, and a couple drawings of Jared and his dogs that an artist in the UK sent to go with the book. She read aloud from a prepared letter introducing the project, while Jared's eyes just kept getting bigger. By the time she handed him the book and the $5,000 check, Jared was beyond words. He wrapped her up in the biggest hug and smooched her on the cheek, and the crowd almost cheered the roof off.

It gets better. When Becky went back to sit down, Jared sat up there with this stuff in his lap, and he was nearly speechless. He stammered around, looking at the book, the drawings, the check, and the magnificent chess set by the door, and finally said he wondered what he was doing up on stage, when he was surrounded by people so much cooler than him. On the flight over, he said he was so tired and running short of sleep, that he wondered what he was doing this for. We, the fans, just gave him his reason.

We done good, guys. Everybody who partook in Becky's charity drive, give yourselves a pat on the back. I was right there in the second row, video taping it all, and yeah, I know he's an actor, but people, he had *tears* in his eyes. For a moment, he simply reverted to that patented Padalecki sign language, where he pats a hand above his heart and looks out at us all. Never doubt, fellow fans, that an actor's muse needs feeding just as much as any writer's, and we let him know that we're willing to go that extra mile, just for him.

SO! On with the show. :-) The Q&A itself didn't reveal much new or astounding, so I mainly enjoyed watching Jared simply be Jared. This being my second time seeing him, I settled in to savor it, and I'll tell you something that occurred to me. Jared is damned good at what he does.

Under that boyish, self-effacing, gosh-I'm-just-from-Texas exterior lies an awfully astute mind. He knows how to work a crowd, how to make us all feel at home, how to embrace an entire room like we're just hangin' out over beers - and yet he fields fan questions from the awkward to the downright silly with deft aplomb. Jared is running the room, it's not running him, and I find it impressive how well he does it, and makes it look like he's not doing a thing. Someone later told me he had excelled in debate in school, and I can certainly see that, now, in his ease in front of a crowd where anything might come at him.

As everyone by now has heard, Jared confirmed that he and Jensen do live together, him upstairs and Jensen down. Jensen had been rooming with another guy, but the guy sold his condo and Jensen moved in with Jared just as a temporary measure ... and the arrangement works so well he simply never bothered to leave. :-) Jared noted with some firmness that he wanted to quash any "fantasies" by talking about this, but hey, we know fandom doesn't let reality get in the way of its fantasies, lol! I think he knew this, though, the way he played with us about the whole situation. *G*

Meanwhile, some tidbits from his Q&A:
The latest prank? He and Jensen were filming an episode where both brothers are using binoculars, and when they put the binoculars to their eyes and took them down ... each turned to see the other sporting - you guessed it - sooty black rings around their eyes! LOL, the best part was, neither immediately realized he'd been pranked, himself! *SNORK!!*

Asked whether humor or emotional scenes were harder, he replied, humor. That's because they have to do crazy things and make it seem easy, plus he has more experience with drama. Plus emotional scenes usually move the plot along, which he likes.

His dream project? He'd love to so something like Lord of the Rings. He loves that it told a story and how the actors must have really lived it, so clearly he's a fan of the grand and epic. LOL, though he did tease about having hairy feet and trying to be a hobbit - all 6'4" of him!

Asked about the angel/religious thing appearing in Season 4, he said that initially "Houses of the Holy" upset him with its religious angle, bothered him a *lot*, but it ended up being a favorite episode of his. Now he's enthused about the idea of something "much bigger than us" happening, much bigger than Sam and Dean in the Impala. He was of the opinion that it only made sense that a Higher Power would take notice after the Devil's Gate opened and all that. Someone also asked if Sam was sleeping with Ruby, to which he simply replied, "Well, they were doing *something*." That's just veiled enough to leave it open to interpretation, and may mean that Jared himself really doesn't know. ;-)

He doesn't hear anything about future episodes until he gets the script, so he's as eager as we are to see what happens, to see if Sam gets to go "darkside" and do more kick-ass stuff, or what, but he's totally stoked over the season's new direction. Plus he reiterated his wish that he'd love to see the brothers clash, and that he wants a Butch 'n Sundance sort of ending for the boys. ;-)

Oh, and at one point the Ghost Busters peeked in and interrupted things, lol! Jared said he loved that episode, but he hopes he never works with them again, because all he does is LAUGH! *g*

Jared did make mention of The CW's shaky status, which in a worst case scenario could mean there won't be a Season 5 if there's no more CW, which is one reason they're pulling out all the stops for Season 4. However, I'm stuffing my fingers in my ears and chanting, "La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-can'thearyou-la-la-la-la!" on that one. *G*

Overall, his Q&A this time almost seemed more low-key than last EyeCon, maybe someone can confirm or deny, but it struck me that way. The prevailing thing I noticed was his gleeful excitement over the unfolding of Season 4! LOL, I love that he's almost a fanboy of his own show, even if he can't see the finished episodes until later. In all, Jared was as chatty, fun, affable and delightful as he has ever been. The only bummer of the entire Q&A? I finally had the microphone *IN MY HAND* when Dizzy let Jared know the time was up. DAMN! Foiled. ;-)

Thus, off our beautiful boy went, presumably to stuff some FOOD in himself before we ran the legs off him, once again. I think I went in search of something food-like, myself, the memory gets a bit hazy, there....

Come autograph time, my seat was in the B row, so not very far into the general line. But just as I neared the table, the handlers and helpers organizing the whole mishmash began chivying us to pick up the pace. But something in me said, "Not yet, dammit." Time *was* of the essence, Jared had to be at the airport by like 3:30, but I just wanted to treat him like a person one more time, before he had to turn into an autograph scribbling machine.

So I crouched down by Jared's table to roll out my poster for signing, and I felt weirdly better for being where we could look each other in the eye. Whatever, it earned me a smile and those warm hazel-green eyes, and I handed over my gift, telling him that since he gives so much to us, I wanted to give something back. He glanced it over with a boyish grin, exclaimed, "No way!" and accepted my handshake of thanks with a smile. And that's that! :-)

Which I'm glad I did, because from what I heard, the autograph session swiftly turned into an assembly line. I guess people soon weren't even getting their autographs personalized, and I wonder how many folks were bitterly disappointed for that.

But all things said and done ... I was glad he came, and I deeply enjoyed my few little moments with our long tall Texas boy. And I'm glad I coaxed Karina into coming with me, because she understands the sort of dorkitude with which I am afflicted. :-) Thank you, sweetie! *smish*

Some while later, Jared's visit ended and the place emptied right back out again, the weirdness of the exodus striking more odd notes in my mind. Just goes to show these cons wouldn't be much if neither Jared nor Jensen appeared, that's for sure! ;-) And amidst the vastly shrunken congregation, Chad Lindberg got up for his Q&A.

I decided to sit in just because it was part of the deal, and I was here for the total con experience. After all, who knows when or if I'll do another? Karina sat with me for a time, and called susannaheanes (home sick,) and relayed a question for her to Chad: what's he working on, now? The answer is a film called "Once Fallen" starring Ed Harris, for which YAY, Chad! *g* Chad also relayed his "Hi" back to Suze, which I thought terribly cute. Then Karina took off for a drive to the coast, which I later envied because, hello? Sunset on the Atlantic Ocean? I've never even SEEN the Atlantic!

But I'm not sorry I stayed for Chad, simply because I've grown to kinda like the guy. ;-) The crowd for him was small and the atmosphere relaxed and informal, and even lazy. LOL, though I'm not sure what prompted it, at one point Chad imitated his Italian friend, the maker of "My Big Break," and further imitated Tom Cruise by jumping on a couch, a la "Risky Business." *SNORK*

Asked if he was afraid of backlash from Hollywood, if "My Big Break" gets distribution, Chad stoutly said he's looking forward to it. That's because it would mean people are seeing it. gwendolyngrace later asked about acting, saying that some actors look for roles that showcase skills they already have, while others like to learn skills they don't already have. Were there any skills Chad had learned? LOL, I don't think Chad tracked the question entirely as Gwen meant it, but he did say he'd played a little baseball in one... :-p

Let's see ... other items include his tattoos: scorpio, a tribal breast cancer ribbon (which I later saw) a raindrop, and a Chinese character that he hopes but may not mean "courage". He'd next like a humming bird, since he tends to view them as little spirit guides or loved ones returning just to say, "Hi, it's cool!" ;-) He spoke also of the stress of intense roles, how the demands of filming override illness and everything.

He also spoke of later going back home to his parents in Washington State to re-collect himself after the events shown in "My Big Break." This was even after he was recognizable as an actor, and for every job, he is simply grateful. Heh, at one point he noticed Jim Beaver sitting in the back with his hand raised, and with exaggerated courtesy called for his question. Jim responded, "Why are you still talking?" ROTFLMAO!! Very cute to see the camaraderie of Supernatural lingers even amongst actors no longer on set.

And ... that was pretty much it for EyeCon! I chose to skip the Q&A's for Steve Carlson, and instead went with the girls for a nice lunch/dinner in the mall. heidi8 had already left, and roguebitch had only like half an hour before she had to leave, so I enjoyed some last moments with her and gwendolyngrace, and etakyma.

And that was that! I did miss the fan panels, or anyway the presence of *something* that would be "by the fans, for the fans." I think it's important to have that, and even a static display like a fan art show or even fan-vid viewing would be great, too. We need something that's just for us, y' know? Something BUT! I still had an awesome time, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world! Here's me crossing fingers for another land-based EyeCon, sometime in 2009. :-)

THANKS, Kenny and Voni! You guys put on a helluva show. :-)

EyeCon2 Day 2

Day 2 of EyeCon 2 began for me with a trip to the downstairs Starbucks for a nutritious breakfast: a muffin, a fruit smoothie, and a cup of decaf. The muffin was awesome. The smoothie tasted like ... a liquefied vitamin pill, lol! I also made a mosey around the autograph tables, where I said good morning to AJ & Travis and Chad.

Anyhow, the day's events kicked off with a Q&A by the one and only Jim Beaver! I can safely say he has got the hang of all this convention stuff, including taking the mickey out of us. *g* He opened with this truly silly charade of having a faulty mic, very animatedly talking and gesticulating - while making no sound at all. He followed this up with fragments of voice, as if he were cutting in and out, and I think he missed his calling as a human sound effects machine. ;-P

Before the good stuff started, though, we had a redheaded staffer, Yvette, with ... well, some sort of gift/joke where she presented Jim with a "I'm a Bobby Girl" T-shirt, and then commenced to sing (badly) a song to go with it. *scratches head* Um ... yeah. Needless to say, she rendered Jim and a good part of the audience pretty much speechless.

But on with the show. Jim was in his usual rare form, funny, snarky and sardonic, addressing us as if we were all his somewhat dim but no less loved relatives, lol. He especially played with us about spoilers, hemming and hawwing to cries of protest until revealing the dramatic fact that ... Sam and Dean will be investigating something really scary. LOL! (For those wondering, his T-shirt was quite tame this time, reading only, "I do my own stunts" with a little cartoon of a guy falling down.)

Of course, Jared and Jensen figured into some of Jim's talk, including Jim stating ominously that Jared's only played one prank, but he hasn't dared any more. Jim promised he has a plan for revenge, but (insert deep, wicked voice) it may take two or three years, heh heh heh. Jared is, Jim assured us, 6'4" of baby, who thinks he's in kindergarten and when he's 90 years old on his deathbed, he's going to pull a stunt. ;-)

The Qs and As were fun and entertaining, not a whole lot new but mainly just a chance to enjoy Jim being Jim. LOL, a note I both treasure and dread: when I raised my hand for my chance to Q, when he saw who it was, he got this sardonic, teasing grin and said, "Yes, Erin." Oh, noes, he knows me by name across a room - eeps! *face-palm* But, being dead tired on little sleep and rather much wine, last night, my thinky question of earlier evaporated completely from my mind. So, instead I asked him about wrestling down a big ol' kid like Jared, as Bobby did Sam in the season premiere.

My question inadvertently sparked what's apparently become a favorite note of the evening, LOL! After chiding me for not thinking he could really *do* it, Jim told how he had to hold Jared for the shot of Bobby restraining Sam from attacking the newly-risen Dean, and teased that yeah, the rest of us would love that, lol. When it took them time to set it up, he *kept* holding Jared preparatory to each take, and meanwhile felt up Jared's pects and chest and the upshot now is ... they're engaged. ROTFLMAO! (He later also noted that they're registered at Home Depot. *SNORK!*)

Oh! Jim did spill that in Episode 6, Bobby gets to drive the Impala. HEE!

Some A's from Jim's Q's include:
His current project, Harper's Island, is under uber strict confidentiality agreements, because the effectiveness of the show depends on the audience being surprised. Jim's own role is very different from Bobby, instead a man who rarely speaks, and it's a more internal role.

Deadwood was, he said, a role he was born to play.

The nature of a character and the scripts writing have more to do with him getting into character than the period or the costumes.

He finds it most chaotic to shoot a scene with lots of people or lots of Special FX. The fight scene with the boys' blasting ghosts during Bobby's ritual in 4:02 his example.

And ... that's kind of it. Jim doesn't know what Bobby is doing after about Ep. 6, and he figures we won't see much of Bobby for a while, until Harper's Island is wrapped and the latter episodes of SPN are to be filmed. HI would let Jim go film SPN if needed, but he hasn't got the call for anything further on, yet.

In summary, Jim was awesome and amazing and a pure joy to see/hear. He treats us all like ... well, like occasionally exasperating family whom he nonetheless loves to have around. :-)

Next on the schedule were the Ghost Facers, AJ and Travis. To be honest, I was kind of "meh" about seeing them, figured I'd do it just because I'm here, but ... no squee involved. I even came back in a few minutes late... and I was very pleasantly surprised! They were funny and goofy and borderline slapstick and played off each other hilariously. AJ seems the mellower of the two, with Travis so amped he had to put aside his chair just so he could pace and bounce around, lol! They also did a hilarious in-house riff where AJ flattered Travis about we don't even know what, while Travis went all "golly shucks" - all in an absurd verbal shorthand that meant nothing to anyone else. They really should be a stand-up team...

Tidbits of their talk include: a very great deal of Ghostfacers was shot by them, with their ghost hunting crew actually holding the cameras. It was scripted, of course, but they were given lots of room to just do their thing, which made for a very different acting experience. (For example, the rat Travis freaked over was just tossed in the room for atmosphere, but Travis saw it and chose to scream and react.)

AJ and Travis also spoke very highly of Jensen and Jared, as well as riffing about how HUGE Jared is, how big *both* boys are compared to their smaller statures. AJ told how Jared one day just picked him up and ran around with him slung over his shoulder, while AJ freaked that he was going to be dropped, and Jensen chastised him to put AJ down. LOL!

Fave lines from the show: "Sweet lord -" "- of the Rings!" and the "chisel chest" exchange. Apparently that absolutely broke Jared up the first time they said it, and they said Jared laughs *huge*, and when he does, everything just stops.

Yes, they miss Corbett, and if we smell French Vanilla, that would be Corbett farts. :-p

Asked about pranks, they said Jared would do just anything to distract and make you laugh. They also told the already-immortal tale of them trying to keep straight and do the ghostly train-death victim scene - while Jensen was goosing AJ in the ass with a shotgun! AJ would go "AH!" and the director would ask, "Why do you keep going 'ah'?, and Jensen would echo, "Yeah, why do you keep going 'ah'?" LOL!

In all, they were funny, boyish, hyper, and played off each other hilariously, as well as being easily distracted by their own silliness. They also had great fun with the guy who ran the mic around, Steven, sending him dashing from one side of the crowd to the other.

Next up - Fred Lehne, the Yellow-Eyed Demon himself! Having stepped out for a break, I came in late, so I missed his entrance, but I got the bulk of his Q&A. The poor guy was *not* well, and his voice was half gone, but he carried on like a trouper. I honestly didn't know what to expect, and I've heard some iffy things about past con behaviors, but the man I saw today was just plain fun. He told us about his underwear - Calvin Klein - his fan boy moments - Bruce Springsteen and Elizabeth Taylor (her eyes really were violet, and she rendered him completely incoherent.)

My question to him was how much was him and how much was direction, in the YED's smarmy, supercilious demeanor. His response: they just let him go, and what we saw was what came out when he played the scene. Someone also asked if he ever thought about the poor janitor the YED had possessed. Fred responded with a practiced sneer that the janitor had more fun with him then out in the basement with the mops, lol!

A couple times he turned the questions back on his audience, which earned fun results. When people floundered for answers, he laughed and said, "Not so easy, is it?" He also set himself up with innuendos several times, chiding us, "You've got *dirty* minds. I like it." LOL! On the many times he's died in various roles, he quipped, "I've died so many times I'm afraid when it really happens it'll be a disappointment - hey, this isn't like on Supernatural!" His favorite film death(s) belonged to "Lost," where his character apparently died several nasty times.

Upon being asked, "Do your kids ever show any interest in acting?" he replied, "No, not even mine!" LOL! His favorite SPN line: "You're going to live long enough to know the taste of your own intestines." He declared it's not often you get to say something like that! ;-)

So ... there's that. He gave us nothing new, but simply because he *has* nothing new, but he was by turns warm, funny, irreverent and teasing, a very comfortable presence to be around. I found him to be a pure pleasure and lots of fun, which rendered me happily surprised.

Subsequently came Nicki Aycox, aka the demon, Meg. Now this girl? Was an absolutely unexpected joy. My first impression was that she is *tiny*, lovely, a bit nervous at first, but utterly spunky and witty.

Highlights of her talk: her fangirl moments were with X-files movie co-star, David Duchovny, where she had to appear in a scene in a yukky hospital gown. Not exactly the circumstances in which she wanted to meet him, lol! And ditto with Bruce Willis, when she met him before playing a part with him.

Asked if Jared and Jensen ever pranked her, she replied tartly, "Pranks? I'm too smart for that." Did she prank them back? Nicki smirked and said, "It wouldn't be an even match." ROTFL!

On filming SPN: she told of how hard it was for Jensen to slap her for a scene, to the point he almost couldn't bring himself to do it. (Awww.) Per getting along with the boys, she said they were Texas boys and she was an Oklahoma girl, so they got along just fine. She spoke of Jared and Jensen in the very highest of terms, nothing but praise and affection for them both.

My Q to her was regarding the episode, "Shadow." I loved her sensuality, her sexual aggression in Meg, the imbalance of power with Sam and Dean as her prisoners. I wanted to know how much was her and how much was direction? She replied that the words were all scripted, but the actions were all hers, the crawling back and forth and sliding around the pole, kicking Jensen's/Dean's leg aside, etc. She had *wanted* that imbalance of power, wanted to give a strong woman character. Jared and Jensen had no idea how she was going to play the scene, so she asked the crew to keep them in the dark until they were rolling, so she'd get the sort of genuine reactions the boys gave.

A trivial note: they sometimes used ramps to get hers and Jared's faces in the same frame, lol! She also repeatedly praised Jared and Jensen, saying she'd come back for them in a heartbeat and do anything on SPN, and equally praised the SPN workplace. In all, I found Nicki to be articulate, smart, forthright, and a real treat to hear, and she was fiercely proud of how the SPN fandom had embraced Meg.

Jason Manns had the next Q&A, which I attended since I liked his music so well. (I must here add that Karina bought me Jason's CD, which makes her eleventy billion new kinds of awesome.) Up there in front of a couple hundred inquisitive eyes, Jason came across to me as affable, relaxed, low-key, and a man at home in his own skin.

My Q for his A was about how he wrote songs: in effect, did he tend to find words first and then the music, or music first and then the words, or what? I told him that a handful of my own poems came out with such a strong sense of internal rhythm that they sometimes felt like they could be songs - were it not for my total lack of musical talent. Jason replied that it was both, sometimes he'd get words in search of a tune, and he has snippets of tunes just waiting for the words. He went on about the songwriting process for a little bit, which pleased me to no end, talking about songwriting teams where one person is the lyricist and the other the musician, and finished by advising me with a smile that I should find a friend with a piano. *G*

Other answers to fan questions included: He did encourage Jensen to sing, but Jason also explained about the commitment needed to really pursue singing. He reminded us that Jensen was simply too busy for the amount of practice that would give him the confidence to play and sing in front of audiences, and that being a musician/singer is a thing that requires work. Jensen, Jason said, is just not prepared to make the change from music he plays to relax into music for work. Right now Jensen's work is acting, and he prefers to keep music just for fun.

So, fans who love Jensen's angelic voice, there is your answer on that. :-)

Jason rounded out his session by playing a song or three in his mellow, beautiful, acoustic style, including a gently-jazzed version of "Sittin' On a Dock of the Bay." I really, really like this guy, both the easy, comfortable way he has with people and the sheer beauty of his voice, the artistry of his music. When I want something to just be mellow with and feel good, I think I've got me some new tunes for my playlist. :-)

There were breaks between things, too, I'm just not writing a strict chronology, but I did make time to mosey about a bit. At one point Karina and I took a turn around the mall, nosing in a couple shops and getting her a pair of sunglasses, me a new Led Zeppelin t-shirt, and just sort of stretching our legs. In the vendors' room I replaced my SPN poster that I'd lost/left coming through airport security on my flight out, and looked at all the SPN goodies that were on offer. They also had a vendor selling corsets and other goth-type costume stuff, which actually seemed to sell. Me and corsets? Not so much, lol.

I also did my photo op with Jim, figuring to get that out of the way before the Sunday crowds. I missed Nicki's Saturday op, but she would be there again on Sunday. Meanwhile I got some of my autographs for my spiffy SPN poster, including Jim's, AJ's & Travis', Nicki's, Fred's and Chad's. This year everyone including Jim were at tables off the vendors' room, which made casual chatting much easier and more fun. So, all I needed was Jared's autograph! YAY! Uh, I think I also took time out to grab a quick lunch in the food court along with roomies gwendolyngrace, roguebitch, heidi8 and etakyma. LOL, I couldn't just keep forgetting to eat, or I'd tip over!

Later that evening, I had some things on my mind and dinner plans fell through, so I threw monetary caution to the winds and bought myself a Banquet ticket. I had no one to sit with, and really just expected to end up with fans, but to my amazement found myself with a choice: Fred, Jason or Steve Carlson. LOL, I was so flustered by this unexpected chance that I just went for the easy choice, Steve, since I'd already talked to him a few times both this con and last April. I guess I wasn't feeling brave enough for Fred and just kind of spazzed over the idea of sitting with Jason, lol.

Anyhow, it made for a pleasant interlude. I sat among strangers and there was a bit of initial awkwardness, but Steve was so laid-back about it. In fact, he led us in staging the first assault on the buffet table, lol, when everyone else seemed to be waiting in exquisite politeness for some sort of dinner bell. After a while we relaxed into comfortable conversation, and enjoyed.

The food *was* better than last time, served on steam tables rather than allowed to get cold and yukky whilst trying to figure out how to serve umpty hundred dinners at once. I think there were fewer people this time, too. The dinner itself included rice pilaf, chicken, roast beef, a tasty pasta dish, something with zucchinis and yellow squash, and pie. :-) Maybe not 4-Star, but they made a noticeable effort to improve, and my roast beef was tender and delicious. (Plus being able to go back for seconds was a definite plus, lol!)

Across the room, gales of manic hilarity burst frequently from the tables headed by Travis & AJ and Chad Lindberg. LOL, evidently they were having a fake-laughter contest. Those of us with Steve were just as glad to play it mellow and let those guys have all the rowdy fun. ;-)

Steve eventually had to leave to prepare for his concert, but for those who remained at our table, AJ stopped by to chat a bit, just a really nice, gently-spoken guy, then Fred popped in to joke and tease, despite his raspy voice and lingering cold-bug, and he made us laugh over I don't even remember what. Chad stopped by last, when I think only 4 of us remained over pie, and we all had a *very* nice chat about his movie. He's very earnest about it, passionate in his desire for it to reach a larger audience, and sincere in his inquiries about our reactions. I think it really pleased and touched him that we understood its message, the need to understand about the acting industry and how easily the lines blur between fiction and reality, too often with tragic consequences. I think of the entire dinner, I enjoyed the chat with Chad the most.

Anyhow, it was worth it to me, given my temporary state of mind, to just say f** it and throw some money at the chance to embrace one more con experience. I enjoyed it, and I was *very* happily surprised that my late dinner ticket and lower badge number (106) still got me a celeb seat. :-) LOL, the only thing I might do different would be to *plan* slightly ahead, so I could have changed into better evening clothes.

Things were running late by then, but I looked forward to Steve Carlson's concert, having enjoyed his music at the April EyeCon. A good crowd gathered and I thought it was cute that, when he first took the stage, he asked lighting to turn off the spot for a few minutes. Before we make love, he says, we should at least make eye contact. Flirt. ;-)

As before, his show was warm and fun and intimate, just a storyteller and his songs. At one point he called Jason Manns up to join him in a duet, singing an upbeat version of "Stuck on You," the two of them swapping lead vocals. Good? Honey, there were angels weeping at the beauty of those two voices. :-) Jason remained in the front of the audience for the rest of Steve's concert, and the two palled around all weekend. In all, Steve once again gave us a terrific show, closing with a high energy encore with a sweet finish and awesome, awesome guitar. :-)

And after that ... uh, what next? Oh, Platinum Party! Right. So we had the platinum party, and again, Kenny and Voni made a real effort to improve. The room was much bigger, the bar more accessible, and people had more room to mingle. The party room was dominated by the Rock Band game setup, and we got to watch Travis, Chad and several fans horribly mutilate a couple songs, lol! Chad followed with a rock star rendition of "Eye of the Tiger" which is probably all over YouTube by now, very funny!

The noise in the room did, however, prompt people to drift back out onto the Mezzanine by the game room, where folks congregated to talk and hang out. Having not sufficiently humiliated myself with Jim Beaver yet, I joined the little circle of folks standing with him. I was touched once again by him talking about his little girl, Maddie, and the journey she's made from losing her mother so young to a precocious 6-year-old who is, Jim fears, destined for world dictatorship. *G*

Tonight I only had a single glass of wine, so I took the chance when offered to chat with Jim about writing, the subject I'd *meant* to bring up in his Q&A before hanged-over-ness turned my brains to applesauce. ;-) I can only say again what a good and decent man Jim is, to lend himself and his attentions to us. I truly enjoy how articulate and intelligent he is, how deeply he thinks under that gruff exterior. We chatted for quite a while about his upcoming book and writing in general, and I hope he knows how much I appreciated his time. :-)

And ... that was pretty much that. I straggled back on up to the room, where the rest of my roomies were already asleep. Karina and I, however, stayed up nattering and whispering for probably another hour, until we conked out. Tomorrow was JARED DAY!

EyeCon2 Day 1

Wherein I post belatedly - very belatedly - but I want to round out the set. *g*

This is my account of the *second* EyeCon, held once again in Orlando, Florida, September 26-28, 2008. Beginning with Friday, here we go! :-)

First, Chad Lindberg's movie, "My Big Break," was SO not what I expected! It started off as a sort of whacky guy-thing kind of film, complete with all sorts of "inappropriate" behavior, including opening scenes of one of the guys trashing a big ol' pile of film in the back of his truck, finishing with peeing on the whole, mess, lol! But as the film followed these four young actors through their trials and tribulations in Hollywood ... it became grew into something much sadder and sobering. By the end, the scene of the film being destroyed was not a bit funny, at all. It is, as the creator/filmmaker Tony V said, a denunciation of Hollywood, and it really *really* made me think. Of course, Chad as presenter with Tony was awesome and adorable, and we showed him the love!

Jason Manns - Wow. That man can sing like an angel. His folksy soft accoustic sound was absolutely beautiful, and as I texted to Lindsay, lol, that man can sing me to sleep any night. He was an utter doll to talk to, as well, sweet and engaging and just the kid next door. My roomie and generous friend, Karina/aka blacklid bought me his CD, which makes my ears very happy! *G*

Then the Cocktail Party - w000t! WE HAD ELBOW ROOM! Gone was the claustrophobic cattle call of last year, but this time a generous room with *two* bars set up, and they did not charge for my wine, at least, until they shut the bars down for the night. :-) Per celebs - LOL, I had a hard time getting *to* anybody simply because I kept running into fan friends and LJ acquaintances! But I did chat just a bit with Chad, who was cute as ever. I forgot to say that not long before the film, Karina and I ran into Chad with his lovely girlfriend down in the Mall, and Chad recognised and greeted us warmly. What a doll! *G* Back to the cocktail party, I honestly never *saw* Nicki, which makes me feel bad. I probably looked right past her, without that blond hair. :-/ I saw Travis but ever got over there, didn't see AJ but again, probably just missed him. Jim Beaver, however, repeated Chad's welcome when he recognised me from last EyeCon and gave me a big hug. LOL, the poor man really was snowed under by eager fans, and I fear we backed him into the corner, but he's getting the hang of this crowd-working thing. I missed seeing Fred, as well, so I'm sorry to read Jane's report that he's ill. Sinusitus? GAH! Hope he can get some antibiotics.

Anyhow, so I had an *awesome* time chatting with fandom pals, and it was very cool to be recognised by Jim and Chad - though maybe I should be vaguely alarmed, since there is the possibility that makes me notorious ..... Hmm .... ;-)

I hung with the die-hards until the threw us out, whereupon I retired to congregate with the folks down at Crickets. Jim Beaver was down there, too, but engaged in private conversation as well as getting something to eat. As I said, I flat *forgot* to eat, just had a power bar, so it's probably no wonder 3 glasses of wine pretty much rendered me rediculous. *g*

Other characters to meet were of course Kenny and Voni, who looked awesome and greeted returnees with huge smiles and hugs, and Dizy the MC, who is still the outragous flirt. *G* Of course I saw Yasmine and Megan and met Jane and I don't even remember who all, lol, so if I forget I saw you that night, please don't hold it against me!

More to come ....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Still kicking ... Me in my writer's hat

Where, oh where, did the past year and three months go?

It just ... went. Like a Kleenex snatched out the car window. It's been a busy year, including a return to fan fiction, (oh, joy, someone combined horror with classic rock, a classic car, and handsome spook hunters - catch "Supernatural" Thursday nights on The CW) raising and losing a beautiful new Border Collie pup, moving to a new house with acreage (renting), and working my freakin' arse off so's to support my new-found travel habit.

Yup, took a 6-day road trip to see my parents near Seattle last October, went to a fan convention in Orlando in April (EyeCon), went on an 8-day Moot/road trip to New Mexico and Arizona as my annual ladies' escape with friends, competed in some out of town sheepdog trials, and I'm fixing to go to another fan convention in September. The height of hurricane season. Pray for me. :-p

Work-wise, I clean dog kennels and sheep pens two days a week, help a friend work her horses, help another friend with odd jobs around her property, and pick up other under-the-table work, all involving labor and/or livestock, whenever the chance permits. It's cash, baby, and I'd rather work outside than in an office. :-) I don't fare well in captivity ...

With the loss of my beautiful 1-1/2 year old pup, Flynn, to accident in early May, my dog-training pals went together and got me a new pup. Nick is a completely different dog from joyful, elegant, grey-hound fast Flynn, but he's impeccably bred, smart to the point of scariness, wonderfully level-headed, and at only 4 months, I can tell he's going to be a helluva dog. I will mourn Flynn until time spins down, but Nick has filled my heart. Yes, I am blessed in friends.

This morning I awoke from the satisfying exhaustion of a weekend sheepdog trial, and discovered summer had momentarily given way to the sharp, clean bite of autumn. From mornings of 65 desert degrees, the mercury dropped to a startling 40. The day will warm, even here at 5800 feet among the pinion pines, but it reminds me that Fall is fast approaching. It's coming time to reorder my time. Less play, more work - and more writing. I'm giving myself September to finish playing hooky, but I've manuscripts in need of the knife and words in need of whittling. Time indeed to call the muses back from their summer among leaves and sunlight.

Until then ... to whomever should chance to read this ... may you find crisp apples and rosy tomatoes and thick green zucchini as your part of the harvest bounty, and watch you for the cheery faces of pumpkins among the vines. :-)

~ G. M. Atwater

Sunday, April 13, 2008

EyeCon - Day 3 Part II

SUNDAY April 6th 2008
(continued ...)

Left by my wee lonesome at the end of the con, I was definitely not ready to go back to the silence of an empty room. Amidst the general exodus of the hotel, I knew people would be staying an extra day or two, so I set about trying to find someone - anyone! *whimper* I missed my chance to catch up with Carol/ficwriter1966 for supper, alas, but I ran into LovesJeter and Samjacklover in the lobby, and followed them out to the mall food court. Rachel had told me there'd be some sort of after-party up in the game room, but I honestly didn't expect anything bigger than the not-quite-pajama-party.

So, I got some Asian take-out and sat a bit with Jeter and Sammy in the hotel lobby, but quickly found myself too restless to remain sitting. Leaving the smarter folks to take their ease, I resumed wandering in search of familiar faces.

And found myself in the game room. Sure enough, the door was open and one of those little portable bars stood inside, but nothing much seemed to be actually happening. But I saw a handful of folks I knew and decided to just sit and take a load off, and chit-chatted with some fellow SPN fans.

Frankly, I'm not even sure how it developed, but at some point, an After Party miraculously happened. The mini-bar went away, but booze seemed to keep appearing, though I remained sober with only one glass of wine. This highly informal get-together somehow organically evolved to include Chad Lindberg, Jim Beaver, and Steve Carlson just hanging out with us fans, and Samantha Farris moseying in and out waving a glass in one hand.

And you know? It became some kind of magic. Where else is a girl soldier going to play drums with Steve Carlson at a game of "Rock Star", (and omg, that girl could *play!!*) and even Jim Beaver steps up to sing a little Rolling Stones? Where else is Chad Lindberg going to duel fans at Guitar Hero, while Gabe Tigerman charms the socks off everyone around him? Where else could folks snap informal (and occasionally silly) candids of all the guest stars, as casually as shooting for the family vacation album, and chat with them as if it was a backyard barbeque?

And where else am I going to sit with "Bobby Singer" and friends, and shoot the bull about everything and nothing at all? Nowhere else that I've ever seen, and I'm glad I stayed up too late to enjoy it.

Other folks, the younger set, have posted the real juicy reports as to what all Chad and Gabe were up to at this party. Me being older - (and seriously, how much flirting could I do with a couple twenty-something guys, before I creeped them completely out?) - I just hung back, took it all in, and enjoyed the amazingness of it all. This I think is where I fell a little bit in love with Jim, who seemed still amazed at how much fans love Bobby Singer, and love Jim for giving us such a terrific character. When we tried to explain, he just turned the compliments right around, saying that we were the awesome people and he was having fun simply hanging out with us.

Seriously, the camaraderie of the actors and us fans clinched this whole weekend for me. Kenny, honey, I can honestly tell you that Creation has never hosted a convention like *that*. This sort of thing simply does not happen. But here at EyeCon ... it did.

And yes, I've gone on for pages and pages about the celebrities and the events, but I can't say enough about how wonderful it was to connect with so many other SPN fans. I honestly don't know anyone in the entire state of Nevada who is a Supernatural fan, which made it *such* a treat to be surrounded by and immersed in hundreds of fellow fans. People I'd met online via LiveJournal and The CW Lounge forums turned out to be so much fun, and I met other folks who were entirely new, and just as cool to talk to.

It's been noted before how the cast and crew of Supernatural work as an extended family, and Jared generously extended that umbrella to include all of us fans. Well, having met a sizable chunk of the SPN cast here, I can see where that family feeling comes from. These are just plain good people, who appreciate their fans and see us as people, and who don't mind hangin' out with us an indulging our silliness: nay, sometimes they help our silliness along!

This weekend? Creation could not touch it. Creation is not in the magic business. Kenny and Voni are. If EyeCon becomes a regular event, I don't know how long it can hang onto this family thing. But I'm so very glad I was here when the door first opened, and magic overrode the mundane with manic, merry glee. EyeCon II in September? If it's at all in my power, this cowboy hobbit is going back. :-)

The hour marked past 1 am when I bid a fond adieu to this Supernatural fest, pausing in the hall to request Jim Beaver's permission to hug him (he gives very nice hugs), get hugged by Kenny and Voni, (now how many con organizers hug their guests, huh?) and say a few farewells. Then I walked with 'Bobby Singer' to the elevator, a moment surreal and ordinary at once. Lol, and evidently half the crowd decided to call it a night at once, as Jim found himself holding the door with eyebrows crawling steadily higher, as a good dozen or so people crammed inside. Then we punched pretty much every button on the panel and the elevator began its ascent, delivering us all to the sanctuary of our cozy beds.

The morning would come way too early for me - I discovered my hotel room had a doorbell, lol, when Hanako rang me to make sure I was awake to catch our airport taxi. But even as I sank into my window seat on the plane for the first leg towards home and exhaustion settled into, my mind remained behind in sunny Florida. I had a wonderful time with everyone there and tried to see it all, and I hope my perennial gadding about did not leave anyone feeling slighted or overlooked. All I needed were a few more hours in the day, lol!

To my fellow fans, to my Awesomely Awesome Roomies, to Kenny and Voni and last but not least, the cast of Supernatural - God bless you all, wherever life takes you. May our paths bring us together once again. Happy trails!

~ Erin / Gloria

EyeCon - Sunday Day 3 Part 1

Ahh, here's the day we've all be waiting for, the appearance of The Padalecki himself!

The change of energy in the place was palpable as fans lined up for Jared's morning Q&A. A whole lot of people must have showed up with day tickets as well, because the place freakin' filled *up!* LOL, so much so that when Diz, (the MC and Kenny's all-around Guy-Friday), came onto the stage and gazed across the sea of faces, he said that Jared could start a cult right now! LOL!

And so it seemed. Diz whipped us all to a perfect anxiety of anticipation, and when the door opened, we SCREAMED. Yup, me too. I admit it. But that was JARED walking in, JARED not fifty feet away, all long legs and long arms and the Awesome Black Shirt of Yum, and smile? Oh yeah. The Smile and Those Dimples and we almost screamed the house down.

Jared took it with absolute ease. When he accepted the mic from Diz's grasp (Diz knelt to offer it like Excalibur, lol), Jared looked out at us all sparkly and bright, and chirped, "Hi, guys!" He *owned* us from the first word. And now before I bore you, I want to say this:

Jared Padalecki in person ... You've read interviewers who speak of the boys' charisma, right? Jared is charisma personified. He is nuclear fusion on two (very long) legs. He is boyish charm and boundless energy and a thousand facial expressions. He is the guy next door and every grandmother's Good Boy, and a jaw and cheekbones that most male models would die for. He teases, he plays, he appeals to kids, he jokes, he laughs - he *shines*. And you get the very distinct feeling that Jared Padalecki is having an absolute hoot with us all.

To begin, he thanked us for coming out, and apologized that things got "kind of crazy". "How've you all been?" he asked, like we were neighbors he hasn't seen in a week or two. Then he asked where everybody was from, which got him such a chorus of shouts that he laughingly confessed, "I didn't hear one thing."

So, we settled down a bit and called out our homeports by turns: all over the US, the UK, Austria. I shouted, "Reno!" to which he exclaimed, "Reno! Nice!" Then he drawled, "It's just a shorter trip to Vegas. I would be like, Vegas, Jared" - making balancing motions with his hands - "Jared, Vegas - I'm goin' to Vegas!" (And he half got off his chair as if to leave, lol.) I assured him, "Honey, Vegas sucks." Grinning, he responded, "Yeah, that's true. You always walk away poorer and fatter. At least I do!" Which made me laugh, because Jared fat? Riiiiiiiight. But hey! I got to talk to our boy, and he played nice with my dorkiness. *beams*

Upon noticing all the cameras in the audience, he joked about moving really slow, like The Matrix, and to demonstrate, he got out of his chair and sort of contorted himself around, balancing briefly on one leg - and really just looked like a ginormous, long-armed stork-dork, ROTFL! But he said if we all took and printed one picture, we could make like a flipbook.

Yeah. That's our Jared, the big goof. That's how he was. He talked like we were all just several hundred of his good pals, sitting around his living room over beer. The man knew how to play a crowd, and looked supremely at ease. No matter how crazed his schedule must be, how long his flight and how little time off he's had with cons and work, he just *gives*: gives himself and his energy and his whole attention ... to us. We may have had less than a full day with Jared Padalecki, but he tried his best to make it worthwhile. Yeah, I'm smitten by our boy, big-time.

Anyhow, pleasantries done, he finally decided he was feeling "kind of useless" up there and urged us to start asking questions. I'm working from a real slap-dash collection of notes, so please pardon if this gets disjointed and random.


Gordon Walker - He really liked Sterling Brown and the character of Gordon, and, "I didn't want him to die, but the way I killed him was really cool!" LOL!

Asked what if he had a day where he could do anything without consequences: he said he would eat. A lot. Including steak. *g*

The hardest day to shoot - Mystery Spot, where Dean dies a lot. It was hard to get in the mindset of "watching your brother and best friend die." Yup, hearing him say that pretty much reduced me to warm applesauce.

Everybody's heard the "What do you and Jensen call each other?" question - He calls Jensen ugly, since everyone else calls him pretty, lol. No, really, he calls him Ackles or Shmackles or Shmack. Jensen in turn calls him lord, idol, hero, some variation - LOL! But no, Jensen calls him Stretch a lot.

Can you recite the exorcism? - ! He needed someone to prompt him, but after just two words, he was off and running, rattled the whole thing off without hesitation, and he made victory arms amidst the cascade of cheers, lol! - Then he claimed he had no idea what he just said, and hoped he hadn't cursed anyone. "Except you -" pointing in to the audience - "You came in late! No, seriously, just kidding".

He also spoke of playing Sam in Mystery Spot, that he and Kim Manners went over how Sam would be with Dean dead. They settled upon the idea that Sam would just be robotic, closed off so that he could no longer be hurt, the anger and grief locked away inside. *wibble-sigh* Pretty much as the fans read it.

Fandom has also heard the little boy's cute question, "I know monsters aren't real, but if they were, would you fight them?" LOL, Jared immediately said "I'd run so fast!" But corrected himself to add, "Unless someone was picking on you, then I'd get 'em."

AWWWWWWWWWWW! He's so cute with kids - he'll be an awesome daddy. :-)

Favorite episode - Skin, where he got to fight Dean, or at least the facsimile of Dean. He also enjoyed BUABS, loved the conflict between the brothers again. Not that he likes fighting Jensen, he hastened to note, just that he enjoys exploring conflict between the brothers.

What will he miss most when the show is finally over? He said he got a taste of that during the writers' strike, not knowing if they'd be coming back. He would miss, he said, the camaraderie that Supernatural breeds, and included both fans and cast and crew. That was a theme expressed more than once over the weekend: the extended circle of feeling SPN has grown to encompass.

Quicker fingers than mine have already noted other fan-favorite moments: Given his dream movie remake, Jared loves Peter O'Toole in "Lawrence of Arabia" and thinks doing that would be great, with Johnny Depp as his co-star. (Jared as Lawrence, Depp as Omar Sharif's character - hmm!) Two girls gifted him with *gorgeous* painted portraits of his dogs, which clearly touched him. A grandmother who was there with her family brought him a Disney monopoly game, which was very sweet and he gave her a hug. He was very cute when he retired to his chair with the game and a couple other items, and drawled, "Y'all just talk a bit, I'm gonna look at my stuff." LOL! His Friday the 13th movie is more a re-telling than a strict remake, a "midquel" rather than sequel or prequel.

Per SPN:
"The Kids Are All Right" was scary to him, the "suckling kids" with those weird mouths and stuff, and because it was a Dean episode, so he didn't have to be as self-critical and could watch as an audience member. The easiest aspect of Sam for him to tap into was Sam's analytical mind; the hardest his willingness to sacrifice himself to hunt ghosts and stuff. Favorite recurring characters were demons like Meg and Ruby, the latter because she revealed a lot about Sam.

And yes, we did get the dreaded Wincest Fan Fic Question, to a not-so-muffled chorus of groans from the crowd. I give Jared big props for sidestepping it so adroitly, instead turning his answer into a highly diplomatic appraisal of fandom as a community. He simply noted that fan fiction and RPGs are a part of our participation in the Supernatural community, so he's supportive of our involvement *as* fans. Jared turned an awkward uncomfortable question into something rather heartwarming, bless him.

(FWIW, the gal who asked the question later told me she'd asked hoping that Jared would come out with an indictment against Wincest, as Jensen is supposedly on record as disliking it. But she acknowledged that Jared's answer was too diplomatic and her goal went unmet.)

(SLIGHT SPOILER WARNING!) ---- Is Sam going to go Anti-Christ? Jared would like to, and asked rhetorically, "What can Sam do?" He'd like to know, and thinks Sam's powers just went dormant and are hidden "in his belly", and they're only gone because Sam thinks they are.

~~ END OF the Q&A details.

~~ Now, my contribution to the Q&A was a sort of personal one. I had no question for him, could not think of a thing that hadn't been asked at a dozen other cons. So, I decided to tell him about John Winchester's truck, affectionately dubbed "Truckzilla". As some fans know, "Zilla" was bought by a friend of mine, a devoted SPN fan in Texas. (The most gracious and wonderful person, evar!) She and her hubby flew up to Vancouver a couple weeks ago, picked up Zilla from the props guys, did the paperwork - and drove Zilla 2300 miles home. A road trip in true Winchester style, lol!

One can imagine that selling John's truck might be a tender spot with Jared and Jensen, the closing of a door against Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Thus, I wanted to set Jared's mind at ease. Upon my mention of the truck's sale, Jared admitted he was sad to hear about it. I explained to him that Zilla was still in the Supernatural family, in good hands and that the truck will be loved. His first question was, "Are they going to restore it?" To which I could answer an absolute "YES". When I had done, he responded firmly, "Tell her to take care of him". And she will, with devotion and appreciation for all the fans who love Papa John and the grand Old Man he drove. I hope Jared will come to believe it's true.

So. That's all I got on that!

Later, lol, I pretty much lost my brain in the chaos of the day. The Jared photo op was next, and I got in line with my roomies, Kimbo and Ann/Hearseeno. The line looped down the hall and back again, but it moved at a decent pace. While in line, Ann pursued her canvass of SPN fans to get their signatures on her Pig Hat for Jim Beaver. As we drew near our turn, my heart melted yet again when I watched Jared get down and kneel for his picture with two little kids.

By the time we got up there, we'd changed plans for our pose at least three or four times, until Kimbo hit on one that trumped them all: the Pouty Pose. Yup, Ann and I would pose with Jared in that wonderfully cuddly Padalecki style, while Kimbo stood to one side with arms crossed and an *enormous* pout weighting down her lower lip. LOL! Jared laughed out loud when we told him and said this was a "first" for him. He'd never done a pouty pose before! *G* So we did, and the result was absolutely priceless.

.... Annnnnnnnd I totally forgot I had an extra ticket for my single-person photo op, and had to go all the way through the line *again*. *face-palm* Thankfully, the last of the line went swiftly and I got back up in no time. Jared grinned when he saw me and made some remark about, "What, no pouter?" In vast embarrassment, I confessed I'd forgotten my single ticket: I was brain dead and clearly needed more than 4 hours sleep.

He chuckled as he agreed, "Don't we all?" So, we took our marks and I bethought myself of posing properly - but Jared just wrapped one long arm around me and *squished* me against his side. Guys, this man had already been through a bazillion photos, I'm like the 5th from the last in line ... and he's just as sparkly and shiny and cheery as when he began. I've no clue how he does it. He snuggles like you're his best friend and he just wants to make you smile - and yeah. It works. I grinned like a fool. I was happy to the soles of my feet, and I thanked him and got a parting Padalecki smile when I left.

DETAILS: For the fan girls who wonder, I must say that Jared is very nice to be squished by. ;-) He's warm and firm, long and lean, (Sam Winchester is actually made to seem heavier) with a very slender waist, but also nice linear muscles under the snuggly-soft Black Shirt of Yum. He's trim but NOT rock-star-skinny, by any shot. And oh, those broad shoulders are just right for tucking into for photo ops, plus he smelled clean.

Oddly, "Big" or "Tall" were *not* the impressions that hit me first, upon meeting Jared up close. Yes, he's quite tall: in our Hunter group pose, he's standing, and my head barely reaches his shoulder. But what I noticed first and foremost was that FACE: a smile that radiates and lights from within and those eyes that simply sparkle. Like, truly sparkle, filled with joy and this perennial look of, "Awesome, what are we gonna do next?" He left me with the feeling that I really wished I could give something back, to repay for the simple gladness of meeting him.

So yeah. Definitely worth every penny of a photo op ticket. :-)

After that, it was time to scamper to the Fan Fiction discussion panel of which I was a part. My recollection of it is pretty fuzzy, other than we really had a great time and it was not a bit scary, despite my having done no preparation at all. The panel was *just* getting good and juicy ... when Diz came in and announced they were lining up for the Jared and Jim autographs. LOL, the discussion promptly blew up like a covey of quail - and it dawned on me, to my utter horror, that I'd MISSED the Samantha Farris photo op!!!

I swear my heart just dropped like a stone, because I'd forgotten that she'd already done photo ops yesterday, so the line for her today would be just a fraction of previously. I flew down the hall to find that the line was for Sandy McCoy. Dizzy offered to do a substitution, but darling as Sandy is ... I'd bought a Sam ticket and I really (insert whiny voice here) wanted Sam. My brain was frying as I teetered on the brink of panic, internally *cursing* myself for my stupidity. I guess I must have looked pretty damn pathetic, lol, as Diz said, "Hold on a minute, lemme see what I can do."

And off he dashed, leaving me to stand there with the dimmest flicker of hope, combined with a very real sense of chagrin. Moments later, back he came - with Samantha Farris herself striding at his heels. OMG! I could have died on the spot, but they whisked me right into the photographer's room and I honestly don't remember a whole lot after that. I know I apologized profusely to Sam, but she blew it off, saying, "Hey, I was just across the hall." I think they were about done with Sandy, as I don't recall even seeing her there.

Anyhow, I tossed down my purse and stuff, found my mark, (still apologizing), and Sam good naturedly slung her arm around me and gave me a squeeze. Snap went the camera, I thanked Sam again, she gave me a grin, and off she went back to autographs. Thus ended the most mortifying moment of my whole weekend and I made my escape in a haze of embarrassed relief.

As the adrenaline dump from *that* fiasco faded, it dawned on me that I had nothing for Jared's autograph session. I'd been having everyone else sign my book, "The SPN Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons, and Ghouls", but I wanted something special for Jared's autograph. Unfortunately, I had done no more planning for that than I had anything else, and panic raised its head again. People were already queuing up and I had nothing for him to sign. However, with the line getting looooong, I realized I could just chill out, go buy a photo in the vendors' room, and fit myself into line wherever.

I will say that this final autograph session is where things ... sort of lost that intimate, cozy EyeCon feeling that carried us so far. It's unfortunate that Jared's upset schedule turned what was planned to be a two-day round of events into a sort of "Big-star-jets-in-then-jets-back-out-again" appearance. That struck a jarring note compared to the rest of the weekend, yet it could not be helped. Furthermore, the way he threw himself into giving all he could to us, despite cramped time constraints, says a helluva lot for Jared Padalecki, and makes me mourn what we could have had even more. At least he came to share what time he could!!! :-)

Meanwhile, back in the main auditorium, my B section had gone through the autograph line well before me, so I went back and sat with Kimbo and Ann in the E's. The line seemed to be progressing at a reasonable pace, and we got into line when our row was called. Even as we waited, Ann continued her quest for fan signatures on the Pig Hat, getting a last few squeezed in amongst the haze of scribbles now covering every millimeter of fabric.

As we drew near the autograph table, we discussed that I would go first, so that once done, I could look back and take pictures of Ann giving Jim Beaver the hat. I am a total idiot for not thinking of videoing that moment, but I was more concerned with being unobtrusive, so ... *sigh*

Anyhow, we inched along and chatted with people around it, until suddenly it was my turn. A volunteer took down each person's name, writing it in bold block letters on a scrap of notepaper, which we would hand to Jared and/or Jim so they could read it. A handy way to avoid misspelling or confusion, I thought. I used my real name, not my screen name, for this.

And just like that, I stood once more in front of Jared. By now, the poor guy had been signing for probably over an hour, and he didn't have quite the sparkle and shine of the earlier photo ops. Nonetheless, despite how his hand must have been cramping, lol, he looked up with a quick grin and cheerful "Hi!" I handed off my pictures for autographing, which he did with brisk efficiency. And then, since no one was poking me or glaring at my backside, I decided to go ahead with my plan of giving him a simple little gift.

It was nothing, really, and I assured him that I knew he could not keep everything people gave him, so this was disposable. But what I'd done was print out a scan of the "Hunter's Case File" thing I made last fall and sent to the cast & crew at Burnaby as a gesture of thanks. For those who may not have seen it, here are the scans: http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v360/ErinRua/SPN/SPNCaseFile/

For this, I'd simply printed out the scans, with the file cover on card stock, and now I gave it to him with a brief account of what it was and for whom I'd originally made it. I'm gratified to say it seemed to catch his attention! :-) Jared put down his pen and paused for several moments to look through it, thumbing the pages. He made some remark that it was a lot of work, I'm not sure of exact words, but I do recall it made me feel very pleased. I replied by saying that if I were ever to get into show biz, I'd want to do the props and set dressing sort of thing. I believe his response was another bright grin and something like, "Sweet!"

Thus satisfied and happy, I moved on - and turned back in the doorway to watch Ann deliver Jim Beaver's new Pig Hat. I really wish I'd thought to film it, as the moment was cute. Ann stood patiently while he did her autograph and then she informed him that she had a hat, which got an instant look of amusement from Jim. She handed him the hat and you could see his eyes kind of go O_O albeit in a very self-contained way. He turned it round and round, and although I couldn't hear what was said (Ann has a very soft voice), Jim was clearly intrigued. He took off his own cap and put it on, commenting that it was made for a *little* head. (We hadn't thought to adjust it for size, first.) Then he removed it and turned it around some more, eyeballing the scores if not hundreds of signatures crammed onto every surface. "This'll take me hours to read!" he exclaimed, and grinned as he tucked the hat away with his other gifts under the table.

Thus, I'd say the Pig Hat was a success. If you are one of the people who signed the Hat during the con, you can rest assured it landed in Jim's very own capable hands. Go us! Autographs of the fans for the stars. Me likes. :-)

Later, there was a lot of general anxiety over the slow pace of photo printing, as people crowded around the table where Froggy the Photographer was placing photos. Evidently, his printer was beginning to give him trouble, but he kept cranking them out as long as he could. At one point there were more photos printed than table space to hold them, so I told Froggy we'd get another table. As I turned away and another gal stepped to help me, I had to bite back a grin when Froggy remarked, "And it took a *woman* to do that." Clearly the guys standing around not helping failed to impress Froggy at all. *G*

Anyhow, I got our Hunter photo, our group w/ Jared photo, and my solo with Jared, but alas, Froggy's printer finally biffed it - without me getting my hard-earned Samantha pic, or the extra prints of our group shots for my roomies. Poo, but sometimes technology has a way of crapping when we need it most, and I'll just hope I can sort it out later by email, as Froggy directed us to do.

And then ... my roomies had to take their leave. The Big Show was finally over. It was oddly depressing to see the cozy clutter of our room suddenly condense into a couple suitcases, and I may have sighed a time or two as I followed them down to the hotel lobby. As we stepped out when Kimbo brought the car, I realized I hadn't been outside since I arrived, and now the con was really over. We hugged and snapped last photos and then my gals were gone.

It was a weird feeling to step back into the hotel alone, going against a steady trickle of folks heading out to catch taxis or find cars. The sheer size of the place, the fact the con was over, weighed my heart with a decided sense of melancholy. Little did I know, the fun was not quite over, yet...

TBC ...

EyeCon - Day 2 Part II

SATURDAY April 5th 2008

I missed out on all but the last ten minutes of the John Winchester fan discussion panel, which sorta bummed me out. The bits I heard were quite good, thought provoking, and I think I missed a juicy discussion. Rats. Typing from my notes a day later, I’m not even sure I have a good excuse *why* I missed it! *sigh* Anyhow, the later Supporting Characters panel went well. My fleeting thought of planning what I would say went pretty much out the window, as I did no planning at all. However, the folks on the panel with me were a mix of strong personalities with good points and keen observations, which eliminated any worries I had over lack of preparation. LOL, in other words, I didn’t have to say nearly as much as I thought I would. ;-)

Later came time for autographs from Gabe, Chad, Alona, Samantha, and Sandy, who set up in the back of the vendors’ room, so people had access at any time. I didn’t really suppose I had a place for a jillion photographs and hated to have something signed that I wouldn’t be able to *use* in some way …. So I chose to have them sign my copy of the "Supernatural Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons, and Ghouls". I know it excites love or loathing in readers, with little middle ground, but I genuinely enjoy it as just a fun addendum to the show’s lore, as I never expected it to be an actual reference work. Anyhow, doing this follows in my tradition of having the LOTR cast sign my single-volume "Lord of the Rings" trilogy book at ORC in 2006.

So, there we were, face to face with a major portion of the cast of Supernatural. What were they like up close? Sandy was especially sweet, and said that, while she was doing her Q&A, she used my face (there in second row seat B15) as one of those she could sort of steady herself on when she felt nervous. Awwwww. That made me feel really good - having a goofy grin paid off in unexpected ways, lol!

Samantha personalized her autograph with my name, just wonderfully approachable and easy to talk to. Then Alona won points with me when she took time for a shy 8-year-old boy just ahead of me. I couldn’t hear all they said, but clearly, the little guy had a crush, and she called him around the table for a hug and a candid snapshot. Have I mentioned how much I love this cast?

When I got up to Alona, I had to wait briefly while Sandy came and leant to whisper with her. Alona apologized to me after, saying with a charming girlish smile that this event is the first time she’s actually met Sandy. She really hoped they could hang out together because she’s heard so much about her (from Jared) that it doesn’t feel like they’ve never met. I think they got their chance, because I saw them going about together once or twice, and I hope they had the time they wanted together. Alona also signed using my name. *glee!*

I think I may have caught up with Gabe and Chad later, as typing after the fact I don’t really recall, and they were not always there for signing at the same time. Whenever, I found Chad and Gabe to be just as nice, very unassuming and sweet and appreciative of compliments, easy to talk to, entirely approachable, and they gave good handshakes after. I never had the sense of, "OMG, I’m walking up to a movie star!" with any of these guys, just a comfortable feeling that I could finally express my appreciation for their work in person, and they looked you in the eyes and seemed grateful for it.

Annnnd … that brings us to Jim Beaver’s autograph session. As one of the headline guests, his was a more formalized affair, the Great Man set up at a table in the main events room, and people called up for their autographs by seating rows.

When my turn arrived, I spoke to him about his book, saying I knew he was working on a book about his wife’s tragic battle with cancer, and that I would buy it as soon as it came out. I told him that I’m a breast cancer survivor, and however hard it was on me, I couldn’t imagine what my husband went through. I’ve never seen that side of the fence. He said the book would be out next year and he thought my hubby would recognize a few passages. Jim was immeasurably kind in this, really settled in to listen as I spoke and gave his time, though I kept it brief as I could. Bless his heart; he then personalized my autograph as to his "survivor friend."

Again, I am in love with the cast of Supernatural. I just want to adopt the whole gang and take them home and feed them barbeque. ;-)

After the initial round of autographs, I took a break to the room with Kimbo and Silli/Hearseeno. Finally, down we went to queue up for the Banquet supper, with seating admitted by badge number. While in line, and before I forget to mention, Silli pursued her fan project, which is a baseball cap on which she sewed a cute little pig, reminiscent of the famous (or infamous?) "Pig Hat" that Bobby wore in AHBL. Silli’s plan was to get as many fans as physically possible to sign their names on this hat, and she went at it with a will. ;-)

So, once at the door to the banquet room - which was just the main room reconfigured with tables - we were given our choice of who to sit near, and we wound up right behind Samantha Farris. It was a noisy room, chatty and busy during the delay of getting everyone seated, while statuesque servers in black waited along the walls.

Interestingly, the Banquet did not appear to have sold our, or maybe some people could not come, as there were a few empty seats. Our table seated 10 and we ended up with only six, including one of the few guys around, Logan, a quiet, very pleasant young fella from Idaho. We were at the back edge of the room which was actually good, as there was less noise and a more relaxed feel. I hopped over to see Kenny and Voni at the next table, and they’d read and enjoyed my Friday con report. Heh, I had to commend my fellow diners that people waited until most everyone sat down before digging into their salads.

When the entrĂ©e arrived, the chicken Florentine was lovely to look at, though I have to say I’d never eaten food with a flower in it! Yup, each plate had a sprig of thyme and a purple orchid at its edge. The food tasted okay, though evidently it sat out a bit waiting to be served, perhaps a hazard of trying to coordinate so many eating at once. It had cooled so the breading on the chicken was soggy. Hmm, now that I think about it, I thought they said "buffet style", which to me means you dish up from hot tables, rather than get served, but whatever! :-) It was a nice little interlude, but I think that next time I’d pass. Unless I’m sitting with one of the guests, the food and situation was not spectacular enough for me to repeat the experience. I could eat with friends some place far less costly. ;-)

After eating, the starring guests did get up and try to visit other tables, or at least Gabe, Chad and Jim did. I’m not sure Sam could pry herself away from her bevy of followers, lol. Sandy skipped out early, ostensibly saying something about going to a wedding, but given that Jared was due in pretty much any time, we felt pretty certain where she’d really gone - especially as Kenny disappeared at the same time. *G* At our table, Kimbo meanwhile passed the time with a word association game, Buzz Word, which she pulled out several times in the course of the weekend, lol! My tablemates and I hoped Chad might make it to our table, but the meal ended before our boy could get to us.

Then it was time to dash upstairs, freshen up, and get ready for the Platinum party which was due to start at any moment. At first glance, the Platinum Party looked more like an exercise in how many people can be crammed into one small room. I really wasn’t sure how it could be any different from the Cocktail Party earlier, but what the hell; I’d give it a chance. In my book, it actually turned pretty fun when Chad and Gabe got up to duel each other at the Guitar Hero game, and the noise levels of the crowd rose merrily with the consumption of oh-be-joyful.

I just had one glass of wine, which I nursed for a long time, as the $7 price-per-glass tag made me wince. However, I will give that when I came up with only $6 on hand, they let that missing dollar slide. Meanwhile, I really just found it fun to hang out with the gang. A special treat was Steve Carlson coming in to play an acoustic version of "Be My Little Baby". That was just plain fun, a preview of the concert to come. Dang, that man can play and sing! I stood with Jim Beaver briefly as he watched the boys play and later hung around Gabe, who’s just as cute and nice as the boy next door. I enjoyed myself - and the smuggled shots of "Alabama Slammas" that somebody snuck in. *G* Even Gabe and Chad tried those - cough syrup with a kick, lol!

One unfortunate note that I didn’t hear until later … there was a woman, and I’m certain a lot of other people noticed her, who became drunk enough to throw herself at Chad. I only saw her in the early stages, when she was batting her eyelashes at him and rubbing/posing against the wall in a sloppy parody of a cat in heat. Gah. Anyhow, he escaped unscathed, but for the rest of the con, Chad didn’t go anywhere alone, but rather had a tough lady New York staffer with him at all times. Bummer, I guess the odds of one crazy amongst that many people can’t be helped.

So! On to happy things. Steve Carlson’s concert started late, for reasons I don’t know, though maybe it took extra time to tear down the banquet room and reconfigure it once more as an auditorium. But I’d definitely say Steve’s music was worth the wait. The poor guy’d had a helluva time getting here, troubles with connections and delays at airports, and I dunno what all. He had to’ve been tired, and when he came on stage, he apologized in advance for any slips or mistakes. Voni brought him a cocktail on stage, to which he said, "When Visine won’t work and red eyes won’t go away, there’s nothing to do but drink." LOL!

And then, oh, and then magic. He drew us all in with his very first song, and had us all sing along on the final refrain. Steve Carlson is very engaging with his audience, a storyteller with a mellow acoustic sound, an amiable, laid-back showman with a voice that possesses just the right touch of miles and tears. He encourages his audience to sing, and I was amazed that most of the crowd knew his music and sang along. LOL, I was the only apparent yip in response when he asked who had *not* heard his music before. He also likes to tell stories about his songs, where they come from, the tales behind them. And yes, he spoke of his link to Jensen, that they were roommates once.

His singing style is marvelously eclectic, mellow and crooning and intimate, or filling the room with sound and energy. He rocked us all with a funky, blues-rock cover of "She’s Not There", and the man is positively dazzling on an acoustic guitar. His voice finally began fading when he gave us a cover of the 60’s classic, "Be My Little Baby". He closed with a final, upbeat song that included the refrain, "Don’t you take my rockin’ chair, just keep it rockin’ there, someone’s right behind me to rock on." Oh yeah, Steve. We are. ;-)

In summary, even if he had no connection to Supernatural or Jensen Ackles whatsoever, I would like Steve Carlson’s music. The man knows how to spin a tune.

I never did quite figure out the purpose of the Pajama Party, which my roomies opted to sit out. I felt ridiculous, in fact, when I came traipsing out in my drawstring trousers and a pink T-shirt! Someone said the PJ party might have been originally intended for kids, but at 1am? Whatev, lol! We die-hards just took it as an excuse to sit up way too late. The most activity I saw going on was downstairs just off the hotel lobby, where the scrapbooks for Jared and for Samantha were being put together. I grabbed my stuff for my Jared page and put it all together. But then realized I had nothing for the Samantha page, and I had to add-lib something that was probably crappy (I’m not very creative at 1in the morning, lol), but nonetheless done with affection. ;-)

I did see Gabe Tigerman up and about - I think the man never slept, lol! For a while, he sat with a group of fans at a table upstairs, occupying what they called "the Truth Seat", where they could ask anything they wanted and he had to speak the pure truth. Sadly, I didn’t hear anything really juicy or scandalous, lol, but instead just the sort of cozy silliness you’d expect among any group of late-night friends.

Anyhow, I finally called it quits about 2am, and tippy-toed in trying not to awaken my roomies. One more day to go - and JARED would be among us!

(Part III Sunday report to follow) ~~

EyeCon - Saturday Day 2 Part I

SATURDAY April 5th 2008

Okay, what did my sleep-deprived self do today? Well, the fun began with Jim Beaver’s Q&A in the morning. He strolled on stage in shirttails and a ball cap, totally relaxed and his first comment was, "Haven’t seen this many people since my last court date". Usually there’s nobody around to see him this early in the morning but a 6-year old girl - which earned an immediate "awwwww" from the audience.

Then he said, "Hello, you idjits," following our whoops and yells of greeting with the wry remark, "You’re going to embarrass me, aren’t you?" To which I shouted back, "Of course we are," and he grinned as he replied, "Give it your best". Hee!

By now, you’ve all heard that Jim showed up for the Q&A wearing a T-shirt from a fan which said, "I read Bobby/John". He got a huge laugh when he said, "I’m sure you’ll explain". However, I’m equally certain he knows exactly what that means, if the glint in his eye is any indication. Oh, Jim …. *snork*

In this his first convention Q&A, Jim was chatty and amiable as if sitting on his own front porch.
SOME Q&A HIGHLIGHTS: *(Skip if you don’t want lengthy detail!)

Jim broke into the entertainment business as a writer with a play. He wanted to be an actor, he said, but "nobody would let me". He was a freelance writer before the bottom fell out of the freelance business, and fortunately his acting took off at the same time. Asked what charity he might support, he said he was not allied with any particularly, but things like the Cancer Society were dear to his heart. Randomly, he also poked fun at Jared and Jensen, saying it was fun on set despite them, since they are "dull as dishwater".

His favorite scene on SPN? The junkyard scene with Dean in AHBL II. He doesn’t often get to slap Jensen, lol. Pranks? Jim responded with a knowing grin, "They don’t often mess with me … not sure why." Heh, heh, heh. Jim also reiterated the tale of Jared twisting his toes off-camera during the bed scene in "Dream a Little Dream". He knew of course Jared was trying to get a reaction from him, but Jim’s resolution was "Not this time". Jared was really unhappy Jim didn’t break, he said, lol!

When asked, he said SPN has never approached him about writing for the show, and he’s not even sure they know he writes. But he doesn’t even want to, reiterating that "it’s work". He prefers not to write for the show he’s working on. He did talk to Kim Manners during filming of Magnificent Seven regarding a story idea, mainly to do with getting Bobby in a clinch, lol, but it went nowhere. Mainly, Jim claimed, he does not feel up to writing for SPN.

Jim has not heard anything regarding Bobby for Season 4. He just got a script for the next-to-last episode of Season 3, and he’s in the last two episodes but has no idea about the last one, yet. "I could be eaten by chickens", he joked. A rumor he passed on/repeated was that because of the strike, there may be the possibility of an extended Season 4. But he gave the caveat that it was only rumor.

His favorite part of the Bobby Singer character - he first glibly said it was "not having to shave", lol. Seriously, though, he’s not sure he has a favorite part. He likes Bobby’s dry humor, his amused tolerance for "the idjits", and the fun has a lot to do with just the thing of working. It’s the best job in the world, he said. He also praised Jensen and Jared as "good old boys", which he said goes for all of the crew. He hated to leave Deadwood’s sense of family, how people stuck around and hung out even after done with work. Supernatural is the same way. It’s FUN, he said, that’s what he enjoys most.

Will we see him at more cons? "If they’re all as fun as this one you will" He’s going to Asylum, and was invited to the LA Creation con last weekend, but somehow there was no follow-up on that, so he ended up not going. The Dallas con is at this time still up in the air.

Hardest thing to portray? Referring to the scene where Sa showed up at Bobby’s door not dead, Jim said it was hard to portray utter astonishment when you’ve shot it fourteen times and need to be still surprised on the last take. Jared was no help, because he looked just the same, lol!
As a writer, does he go into acting with a critical eye for the way a script is written? He said he rarely talks to the writers, since they are usually in LA, or rarely even to Eric. He’s actually usually less critical because as a writer, he knows every comma, every dash is there for a reason… to get the right sound. If something logically doesn’t work, *maybe* he’d say something, but generally he is not a believer in criticizing or changing a writer’s work to make it better. But at the same, he believes in a collaborative effort when it happens.

He did not know Bobby’s back-story until Dream A Little Dream, first saying he was not sure anybody did but Eric before that script. But then he corrected to say that, during shooting of Magnificent 7, Kim told him of the Dream storyline, which was the longest Jim has known a storyline in advance. But he always knew "something in the past brought Bobby to this place".
Regarding fan fiction, Jim teased that he’s read fics, not Bobby/John just Bobby/Bella. LOL! Last week he read a fan fic designed to flesh out the back-story of Dream, which he found to be very good. Then as he wrapped up his talk, on request Jim recited a much-loved Bobby line: "Take care of your brother, ya idjit." Hee!

Finally, he took his leave amongst our cheers and screams and a standing ovation, his final admonition to us to "settle down", lol!


Later, I came in late from lunch for the Samantha Farris-Alona Tal - Chad Lindberg panel, arriving just in time to see Chad kick back and demonstrate an "Ash face" - lol. In person, Chad is lanky, laid back, and mellowly goofy. Alona is tiny but tall, lithe, animated and beautiful, and very gracious. Samantha is quite Ellen-like, just without the accent and flannel, and plain spoken and direct a poke in the nose. The camaraderie and ease between the three of them was very evident, just like three old friends hanging out together.

SOME MORE Q&A HIGHLIGHTS: (Skip if this is getting too long for you - NO spoilers):

Alona’s favorite SPN scene? Being thrown around by Jared in BUABS - said with a coquettish wink to the audience. All three actors said that learning their characters is an organic process, something they settled into overtime. What would they like to see happen in SPN? Chad said he would like to see Ash taken on the road once, and riffed on the idea of Sam and Dean in trouble and Ash having to save the day, demonstrating how Ash would burst in the door with a shotgun, doesn’t say a word, just BOOM. LOL!

Alona would have liked to see Jo grow more, saying Jo was just starting to mature and "calm down".

Samantha would like to see Ellen just keep going, head out on the road. Sam imagined her driving a purple Jeep Wagoneer with fuzzy dice, lol!

Per the kerfluffle over Ellen’s return/no-return in Season 3, Sam said this. She could not commit two months in advance for only one SPN episode during pilot season. If SPN had instead called 3 weeks in advance, she maybe could have given them a positive answer, but not two months out, when it would have been professional suicide to lock herself into a single episode at the risk of missing larger projects. She did not get into any details about the financial aspects mentioned in her blog not long ago.

Per Ellen in Season, she has no idea, nor any idea what the script would have called for in this latter part of S3: maybe she and Bella would have gone down together, lol! But Sam kept the idea definitely open for Ellen in Season 4, if they want her.

Asked if Ash is dead - which fans answered with a resounding NO - Chad just said who knows, ask Mr. Kripke. ;-)

Favorite non-SPN projects? Chad said every set and character is different, though he did play a transvestite once. (Titters from the audience, of course.) Alona agreed that every role is different, though she has a special place for her first American role as Kristen on Veronica Mars. Sam said hers was Sandra Cassandra on a piece called Beggars, Choosers, who was a heartless, soulless broad who got so swear at Evana Trump, lol.

From Alona: in BUABS, every time Jared did the, "My daddy shot your daddy in the head" line, he did it different. The take we see, with that nasty singsong voice, actually kind of pissed Alona/Jo off because she hadn’t expected it. And yes, he really enjoyed being bad. ;-) She said she loved Jo because of the look, because people don’t often believe she can kick ass, lol, and it taught her the power off offense.

From Samantha: She liked Ellen because it was a change from the "balls in a skirt" role to actually get a dirty role, with jeans and a gun and all.

Then someone asked Chad what brought Ash to the Roadhouse. In typical Chad fashion, he took the idea and ran with it, saying that after MIT, things were a little crazy so Ash went on the road in his Jeep, "wind in his hair", as the Roadhouse, and stopped for a beer. He saw "these fine ladies" and stayed on to "look after them". (Though one presumes it was actually the other way around, lol.) Samantha agreed that they were all oddballs, so Ash just fit.

How were the boys to work with? Jared has a shorter attention span, gets punchy on the long days and pulls pranks. Jensen is a bit straighter. If you can’t see Jared, "you worry", lol! On Alona’s first day on set, Jared was going around with an iced coffee he’d spiked with soy sauce (ewww!), and he was very happy when he could get someone to taste it, lol. The boys set the pace on set, very professional and instrumental to creating that sense of family.

Asked about fan moments of their own, Alona mentioned a couple "dork moments", one meeting Rachel McAdams and getting all babbly and giggly. She also met Angelina Joie and could not speak, noting Angelina was "like a porcelain doll’’. Chat told about meeting Tom Cruise while working as a very minor extra on Last Samurai, Tom hanging up his cell saying he was talking to his kid, and shaking hands. Samantha mentioned meeting Seth Green of Austin Powers while at an audition for the NUMB3RS, and told of babbling and digging herself in deeper while her inside brain was yelping, "Shut up!"

Projects to come: Alona said she has something in the works, but she believes in luck and doesn’t want to jinx it by saying what it is. Sam has an upcoming mini-series, Impact, in which she again plays "balls in a skirt. Chat I think said he had a film about breaking into the movie industry? I failed as a note-taker there.

Asked the ultimate roles they’d like to play, Sam said Courtney Love, a vulnerable white trash woman. Chad wants to play Billy the Kid. And Alona would like to play her grandmother in a story about how her grand parents met in WWII.

What show would they like to be on right now: Sam - Nip/Tuck, which she calls "edgy stuff" with good acting, and Deadwood Chad - Lost. Alona - House, plus more SPN would be good.


~ And then it was on to Sandy McCoy!Sandy …. Oh, my dog. If someone doesn’t fall a little in love with Sandy, I just don’t know what to say. She is tiny, incredibly cute, bubbly and vivacious and all shining smiles, and visibly nervous, bless her sweet heart. There is just nothing *not* to love about this lovely girl, IMHO. She was girlishly cute about her new dress, and I just wanted to grab and hug her when she kept getting jittery and giggly upon having trouble following the mic around the room.

Of course, discussion turned swiftly to hers and Jared’s engagement, which fans by now know took place in Paris on their recent European holiday. She thought it as just a 4-year anniversary thing, she and Jared ordering room service and playing board games, chess, Scrabble, etc and just being together. Even when Jared waxed all sentimental and sappy she didn’t suspect, until he stood her up, knelt at her feet - and he was still her height, lol - and then asked her. Clearly a deliciously emotional moment for both of them, and can we have a huge congratulatory "awwwwwwwww" from our audience? I thought we could. ;-) Sandy said they never had a first date, since they’d been friends before and just sort of went to being more than friendly.

In other trivia, Sandy said Jared actually dances very well, doing the "tall white boy thing", but he always stops if he sees Sandy watching. (Awwww.) She did watch other Crossroads Demons as portrayed by the first two actresses, wanting to give the CRD a good farewell in this final appearance. But she doesn’t appear to be happy with her performance, saying she kind of froze, and knew she’d be compared to the other CRDs by fans, plus she felt intimidated as she said by "working with 150 friends" on the set watching. ;-)

Her favorite form of dance: Lyrical Jazz, even if she’s not flexible enough to do it properly any more. Leaps and jumps were her best aspects and she always wanted to jump higher than the boys. She thinks Jared would be *incredible* (emphasis hers) on Dancing With the Stars, and she’s love to get him to "do what he fears most".

My question was what her goals/aspirations were for her dancing future, and she said she and Jared want to open a dance studio for kids who couldn’t otherwise afford it. (I afterwards realized this question had already been asked at the LA con, so no points to me for originality, lol.)

What does she most wish she could do? SING! Fan girl moment - meeting The Rock. Did she start wearing heels more since dating Jared? No, she’s comfy in heels because she works in them, but she only dresses up for events, is most comfortable in sweats and Filipino sandals.

Who would she like to work with? Meryl Streep, because an actress of her caliber can only up your game, just by working with her.

~ And that’s all I’ve got for the cutest woman in the entire known universe. ;-)

Next was Gabriel Tigerman - five foot five of cuteness and absolute comfort in front of an audience.


Gabe originally auditioned for the guy with the undead girlfriend, the "Pet Semetary guy" in Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, and was disappointed no to get that. However, he was so happy to get Andy. He thought Andy’s van was awesome and was promised Andy’s velvet tiger print, but never got it. Gabe never actually saw Andy’s bong, though, until watching the episode. Despite getting his theater start in improv (which he still does), he did very little improv on SPN, since the writers had so much fun writing for Andy . Also, he noted that he’s the only character besides the Winchesters to drive the Metallicar - and he was terrified, could sense the nervousness when they handed him the keys and he drove like 4 mph. Gabe also noted that his mom cried when he showed her an image from AHBL of eviscerated Andy: no mother needs to see that. (Awww.)

I asked about his awakening to the popularity of Andy among SPN fans, and he reiterated and elaborated on the story he told me privately about the slash fic a friend sent him. Gabe seemed to have fun riffing on that for the audience. Fav Andy line? He has several, including "These aren’t the droids you’re looking for" and "I have a evil twin". Also 4th bong load line, frontier land, and gay porn.

Randomly: His fanboy moment? He grew up wanting to play baseball, 2nd base, and finally met one of his baseball heroes only to discover the guy was a total douche. Though he got to work with Tom Hanks in Charlie Wilson’s War, and he’d like to work with Seymore Hoffman. If he could be any character - he would be Dean, and totally kick as. LOL! And he would like to be in The West Wing. Any super power? Mind control is pretty cool, but invisibility would be good. Would he like to have Andy’s powers in Real Life? He answered a firm Yes. But what would he use them for? Gabe gave a deep chuckle and grin and replied, "Just the good things". Another question was how, during Andy’s mind control scene with Dean, did Gabe keep a straight face while Dean/Jensen rattled on as he did. Gabe said his improv training definitely helped, because the rule of improv is do not break. Training, he said, lots of training.

As an aside, Gabe further charmed me when he paused at one point to applaud us, the audience, and gestured from the heart while mouthing "me to you" to the crowd. Very sweet. He also mentioned being recently engaged - awwwwwwwww. Couple that with Alona’s recent marriage and Jared & Sandra’s engagement, and love is certainly in the air.

When asked if there’s anything he’d like to do but never got the courage, like bungee jump, he said the cheesy answer is he used to, but since getting engaged he just doesn’t want to take risks Asked about pranks, he said his first day with SPN, he was working on a very serious scene when Jared sent his cell phone "an incredibly inappropriate picture", lol! Gabe was, however, very guarded about telling any back-stage stories, which I found sweetly admirable.

~ And … that’s all I got about that.

(More on Saturday in the next post!) ~~~