Date of meeting: August. 29- Sept. 1, 2003 & March 5-7 2004
Place: Atlanta, Ga. & Orlando, F.
Event: Dragon*Con, Mega*Co
It all began with a quaint little three hour drive from Miami Beach up to Orlando. Had a lot of fun being able to do 80 mph on the turnpike.
When I arrived in Orlando, I was only a little lost, but found my proper way around in no time. To get to my hotel I had to drive past the Orange County Convention Center where MegaCon was being held and the place looked enormous.
Checking in at the hotel was a little bit of a problem. I was pretty much told that my room wasn’t available and that I should come back in four hours. So I explained that I had to be somewhere in one hour and that they best damn give me a room right now. They complied.
This place was actually pretty scummy. I had to take an outdoor elevator up to my floor. Oh yeah, you could tell some bums had been sleeping in there - it was delicious. In my room I discover that all but two of the light bulbs are not burnt-out or missing. Nothing like getting ready in the near-dark.
Got my act together and tried to get a hold of Juliet, from the dourif.net forum, but it appeared her phone had been shut off. I went ahead and left for the Convention Center anyways, hoping that I could at least run into her there.
The Convention Center was a really neat piece of work. I was able to watch the whole convention floor from the top floor through these huge glass windows. I was able to spot Brad right away and was so freaking pleased to see that he had finally shaved.
So I go down to the floor and wait seek out Brad’s line. There is a sign posted next to the starting point that said something along the lines of: ‘Attention Fans! Due to contractual obligations, only one autograph per person and no flash photography is allowed.’ This was not a happy sign for me to read. I had brought two items with me for Brad to sign, and I wasn’t leaving without a picture!
I got in line anyways and you could see that Brad didn’t care about the sign, he was taking pictures left and right with the fans. Fhew, one crisis adverted! Then I noticed ahead of me a woman who I thought was Juliet. She turned around and noticed me, and we got to talking - she explained how they had left the phone somewhere else. What luck to run into her like that then.
I watched as she went up with her husband to meet Brad. I’ll let her fill in those details from a first-person point of view. Then after a couple of other fans, I got to go up and do my bit. As he stood up to shake my hand, I asked him how he was doing. He said that he was just fine. I said to him, ‘I hear you’re breaking all the rules,’ referring to the sign. He was said, ‘What rules?’ I pointed out the sign, and he said, ‘Oh yeah, I don’t care about that.’
Then I showed him what I had brought for him to sign - his original Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination ads from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I’m not sure he realized what they were exactly, he just asked for my name to sign to. As he signed those I was looking at all of the other pictures he had on his table, it was a lot more than Dragon*Con. I had to get image of Grima holding the banishment of Eomer decree from The Two Towers, only because I had used that image in the photoshop contest. Also he had a picture of Piter from Dune. I probably came off as too excited when I picked it up, I told him, ‘Oh, you have Piter! I was hoping you would have Piter this time!" He just kept signing. Ahh, my lameness prevails.
Well, I thanked him and got my fantabular photo-op moment with him before being sent on my merry way. Went over to Juliet and her husband Steve who were waiting for me. The three of us cruised around the convention for a little bit, checking out weapons and candy - what a combo! We decided to then have a lunch break.
I took them back to their hotel room (their hotel was sooo much better than mine) where they checked in and we then headed over the Bennigan’s Restaurant next door. We ate and talked about all kinds of things, but Brad’s movies were mentioned a couple of times.
We decided to head back over to the convention to do some shopping and such. We ended up passing by Brad again and there was no one there in line. So the three of us took the opportunity to go talk to him. Steve was telling the MegaCon guy that we’d already been there and that Juliet just wanted to ask him something. We were let in, and Juliet asked him about training with Misner. She actually sat down on the floor next to his table and was captivated by every word he said. As they talked for a couple of minutes Brad was checking the line to see if anyone else was waiting. Nope, just us. After he finished talking to her about Misner, he turned to me and asked, ‘What did you want to ask me?’ Stupid me says, ‘Nothing, I’m just standing here.’ Damn, I should have asked him about Deadwood or Seed of Chucky - anything at all, but let that one pass me by. We then got a group photo and finally left Brad alone.
Once again we left the convention and headed back to their hotel where we played with the weapons that Steve had bought. We ended back up at Bennigan’s for drinks, in the exact same table in which we sat just a few hours prior. Talked a lot more and I enjoyed some ice cream. Took them back to where they were staying and we had our goodbyes. It was so much fun to spend the time with a fellow fan (or admirer as Juliet calls herself).
I traveled back to my hotel, got some sleep and the next day I went back to MegaCon just to do some shopping. It was so much busier on Saturday than on Friday. I bought a bunch of Aliens stuff and a couple of items for some friends before going back to Brad’s line and taking some pictures from the side - just to share.
After that I left for home because I didn’t have anything else to bother Brad with, and there was no way I was staying in that hotel for another night. I had so much fun in Orlando, and it was because I wasn’t alone. Juliet and Steve, thanks for spending the time with me!!