Sunday, April 13, 2008

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:

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 ...

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