My Experiences at...
The first obstacle to
be overcome if I wished to attend
this convention was the sheer distance: I live in New
Jersey, so I had to travel over 500 miles, or 800
kilometers, to get there. Good thing my car is a 1995
model. It's also a good thing that I decided to buy a CD
changer for it one month before the convention, otherwise
I'd have gone mad.
The first step was
getting permission to leave work two
hours early, at 9:30PM, which I did, so that I could get
enough sleep before leaving. I duly woke up at 5:30 the
next morning, and left the house, CD changer fully stocked,
at 6:10. I would not arrive at the Roehampton hotel until
Along the way I had some fun, such as seeing a sign in
Pennsylvania that said "road construction next 47 miles,"
which did not exactly inspire confidence. Apart from stops
for food and one stop for gasoline (at $1.30 per gallon,
self serve, a far cry from the $1.09 full serve I'd paid
the day before), I arrived at Niagara Falls, New York at
around 3:30PM. This was the first time I'd seen the falls
from the American side, having been on the Canadian side in
Crossing the border was easy, and I
thought I'd take a
short walk through Niagara Falls, Ontario, but the extra
traffic brought on by the newly opened casino put paid to
this idea, so I headed for Canadian route 401, also known
as the Queen Elizabeth Way, remembering the Canadian
daytime running light law by keeping my car's headlights on
all the time.
Traffic moved fine, until I got just near Toronto, then I
noticed the sign reading, "QEW congested." It sure was! It
took me more than an hour to travel about two miles, during
which time I got through the entire Batman
soundtrack. After tiring out my clutch-foot, I found my
turnoff and made it to the hotel.
The hotel assigned my room 808, where I duly headed. I then
went downstairs to eat in the hotel restaurant, where I met
Michael Doran, Elsa Frohman, and Jason Miller. After the
meal, Eric Briggs and Robert Smith? arrived, and a few
minutes later both Anneke Wills and John Levene, and we
were duly introduced. That night I saw the Red Dwarf
episode "Blue," then went to sleep.
The next morning I woke up and prepared myself for my first
convention in seven years. Both Anneke and John gave their
speeches and I wandered back and forth to and from the
dealers' room and the video room. During a trip to my room
to drop off some of the items I'd purchased in the dealers'
room, I ran into John Levene in the elevator, and found out
that he was in the room next to me! After everything was
over, the six of us, plus a few other people the names of
which elude me at the moment, went out to dinner, then I
made the mistake of driving in downtown Toronto looking for
Red Dwarf books and managing to go about twenty
miles out of my way before I returned to the hotel.
Next morning it was downstairs again for breakfast, when
who should be at one of the tables but Anneke Wills. We
started chating, and it turns out that she was interested
in visiting Greece, a wish brought on by her reading of
Homer. When I told her that NBC was showing a new
production of The Odyssey that night, she asked me
if I could tape it for her. After saying I would, she gave
me her address in Vancouver on the back of one of the ads
located on the table in the restaurant.
Travelling home was less of a hassle than getting there. I
made it home with literally seconds before The
On the trip I brought with me an el-cheapo Walgreen's
disposable camera, and most of my pictures did not come out
all that well, but here are two of them which did:
The person on the left is none other than convention
organizer Michael Doran, since made (im)famous by having a
spaceship named after him in Kate Orman's and Ben
Aaronovitch's So Vile a Sin. He's also a characted
in Oh No It Isn't! Please believe me when I say that
Anneke looks much better in person.
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