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I guess I just like liking things

I wasn’t planning to go to Awesome Con this past weekend, but my wife needed stuff picked up in Indianapolis, so I said I’d go get it for her if the house budget paid for my ticket. The use of budgets and envelopes in our house confuses me, but the short version is that I was able to go to the con without using my spending money. Score!

The main reason I wanted to go was that Alan Tudyk and Jewel Staite from Firefly (and a bunch of other things, I guess) were going to be there. I’ve always heard such good things about Firefly cast members’ Q&A sessions, and I knew I would enjoy it. There were a few other famous types there (Adam West, Burt Ward, Kevin Sorbo), but these two were the draw for me. I had seen Ron Glass earlier this summer at Indy PopCon, so I guess the Firefly actors are my personal Pokémon: I need to see them all.

Their session was at 12:15, and I got there early enough to poke around a little beforehand. I got to see and say hi to Tony and Lee, and I got to look at a bunch of toys that were too expensive for me to get. This con was smaller than the last one I went to by a good deal, but that was okay. I didn’t get panicky in a big crowd and I wasn’t tempted to spend quite as much money on stuff.  I got in line for the Q&A a little bit later than I should have, but I still ended up with a good seat in the center, about 10 rows back.

The short version is that it was one of my favorite things ever. The two of them are obviously good friends, and have obviously done many, many Q&A sessions. They were charming, funny, and interesting. Plus, Alan brought a whole bunch of random junk that he and Jewel would sign and give to anyone who asked a question:

  • a hat
  • a crew T-shirt from Transformers 3 (which Alan said was a lousy movie)
  • buttons from a Prada suit
  • a call sheet from a movie he’s been filming
  • a piece of stationery from the set of I, Robot
  • his badge from Comic Con in Salt Lake
  • his itinerary for Sunday
  • a map from his hotel
  • …and a 1/2″ socket wrench

It was a hoot.

They did impressions of other cast members and told great behind-the-scenes stories, but what impressed me the most was how gracious they were to everyone. Firefly was 14 episodes 11 years ago and a movie and a movie five years after that. They’ve both been involved in plenty of other things. But here they were, not only taking the time to come to a con and do the Q&A session, but to do it enthusiastically. Not once did they poke fun at someone for a question, even though you know they’ve heard literally every question ever.

I made the decision to pay to get my picture with one of them. I couldn’t afford to get the picture with both, and I had to choose between the two. I made the decision to do the picture rather than the autograph, because I felt like that would be the better memory to keep. Please keep in mind: I had never done anything like this before. It felt weird signing up for it. It felt weird going through with it. It feels weird having the picture. I can’t explain why all these things felt weird, but they did and do.

Ultimately I chose to get a picture with Jewel. Not only was she in Firefly, but she was also in Wonderfalls, which I love. Granted, her character in Wonderfalls was mean and unlikable, but she was in it nevertheless.

The process was very fast. Each person in line walked in, got the picture, and walked out. When I walked in she shook my hand, smiled, and asked how I was doing. Then they took the picture and I barely had a chance to stammer out how much I appreciated how she and Alan treated the fans before I had to leave. All told, it was less than a 30-second process. Again, it was weird, but it was also very neat.

Now I want to watch through Firefly again.

Jewel Staite & I starring this fall in Awkward Yearbook Photo

Jewel Staite & I starring this fall in Awkward Yearbook Photo

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